A couple of days ago I saw this beautiful poster designed by Chris Rathbone, a London vector based illustrator, for the 2017 Australian Grand Prix. It’s in a screen print style, and it features just 3 main colours (red, orange, aqua), but it was drawn by hand and then recreated digitally in Adobe Illustrator.
On my current university degree we’ve been introduced to Illustrator and I hope that by the time I graduate in a couple of years time I can be producing work to this sort of standard!
There’s so many reasons as to why I think this poster is so successful. Firstly there is a real sense of progression and speed which comes from the angle of the piece, it’s like you’re lying on the track watching the car whizz by. The lines obviously help as well, and the rain light mist effect is also a really nice touch. Also, the fact the starting gantry is slanted is a subtle addition, and again helps convey the sense of speed.
Secondly, the layered clouds work really well. The colour palette is really well considered, and the aqua and orange sit beautifully on the red sky. I think the red track was a good decision too. If it was black then it would’ve made it too dark overall, so having just the shadow of the palm trees and the car is just right.
If I had to make a criticism, it would be that the Melbourne logo is out of date now, as it changed last year to a new modern version. Also, a Reddit user with a very keen eye for detail pointed out that the car may in fact be going the wrong way due to the positioning of the palm trees. I thought I knew a lot about F1, but that is taking it to new heights.
Of course, these are very small details and they don’t make a difference at all really.
I’ve followed Chris’ work for a couple of years now and have always enjoyed his cartoons he makes after each Grand Prix, but his more detailed illustrative work is exceptional, and a real inspiration for me.
More about him, he specialises in motorsport and comic book illustration, and he has a style which uses a limited colour palette with clear, clean lines and bold colours. The poster and the example above are perfect examples of this style.
He’s done work for loads of teams and companies, which include Sky Sports, NBC Sports, Playstation Magazine, Ferrari, Lotus, Sauber, Burn Energy, and other various teams, drivers and personalities within motorsport.
UPDATE: Chris was kind enough to reply to me on Twitter, and he told me that he in fact used just 3 colours (orange, aqua, red), and the black is in fact a brown which was created by overprinting the orange and aqua. This has now been corrected in the post.