snow falling on cedars poster

3 weeks

Roles :
Poster Design

Tools :

Overview :

Snow Falling on Cedars is a post WWII movie set in the Pacific Northwest. The plot is rich and intertwining, centered around the death of a respected community fisherman. A Japanese-American, Kabuo Miyamoto is accused of his murder, putting greater strains on the cultural tensions in the small town. Through all of this, the main character Ishmael Chambers is tested by his love for the wife of the accused, Hatsue. In the end, both main characters have to make choices that will shape the outcome of the trial.

My assignment was to create an 18” x 24” poster for the play adaptation of the book. I was given six sponsor logos that had to be included as well as typography sizing constraints; the author’s name had to be 50% of the title size and the additional contributors names and roles had to be 50% of that size.


Objectives :

Aside from including the sponsor logos and implementing the type size restrictions my goal was to create a poster that did justice to the beautiful story that Snow Falling on Cedars tells. The themes that stood out to me were quiet chaos and cause and effect. I was drawn to the number of underlying narratives that were all laced into the overarching plot and this was something that I wanted to explore with visuals.

Concept & Challenge :

I chose to use quiet chaos and cause and effect as my jumping off points. I am very drawn towards traditional Japanese patterns and their intricacy. Seeing as the Japanese-American cultural aspect was a huge theme in Snow Falling on Cedars I decided that this would be an opportune project for me to experiment with my own interpretation of Japanese style. Furthermore, I knew that creating the right kind of composition would also speak to my objectives.

My biggest challenges were lacing all of the different elements of the story together and creating a unique illustration style. My work doesn’t usually involve a lot of illustration even though it is something I have practiced for a long time. I wanted to demonstrate my ability in this discipline.

Solution :

My final poster depicts a snowy Pacific Northwest landscape that converges at a body of water. The landscape and all of it’s elements are symbolic of the underlying narratives in Snow Falling on Cedars and how each part of the story determined it’s final outcome.

The typography is quiet in both size and tone as I wanted the artwork to be the initial engaging element. I incorporated a dotted grid in the background to add texture that resembled snow and a primarily cool color palette to set the tone for the time of year. I used a cherry red as an accent color to elude to something slightly sinister in the sun and to highlight the two wooden posts emerging from the body of water. These are representative of Ishmael and Hatsue, further reinforcing my concept of how each facet of this story is tied to the outcome and directly relates to their decisions.