Designing the Hot Topics bag

"How quickly can you come up with a design for the bags that's one colour (black), has the speakers heads in circles and says HIT Hot Topics 2014? Will faces even print in one colour?" - Maddie O'Hare.
This is a standard kind of question here at HIT in this case it was about a week before our national conference, so the important words are 'how quickly'.
This years conference bags got more attention than previous ones, our speakers seemed to love the idea of being on a bag, a few clever attendees used them as a way to get autographs and, of course, we loved them. So I thought I'd let you know the design process (as a little 'behind the scenes' extra).

Why Circles?

Because we'd already used circles on the promotional posters for the conference, so this way the design could be carried over into the bags. The only problem was that the pictures we'd used are full colour and in some cases quite low quality (even some of our bigger name speakers have very few good photos). So I needed to first get a set of good photos, and then make them work printed in a single colour.


The first stage is easy some people I already have photos of, some people like Dr. Hart have 100's of them just a short google search away. For the others though I needed to cheat. Luckily our friend and filmmaker Jon Derricott has interviewed our other speakers before, so I looked though his YouTube channel and grabbed some screenshots.
The next stage was making them single colour, there are very fancy designer type ways of doing this... but I'm not fancy. Instead I used an app on my phone called ToonPaint that allows me to make cartoons from photos, it's very basic and usually leaves me with an image that still needs a bit of editing, but it does the job.

The Design

I still had the design from last years bag on my computer, I knew the text part worked well then so I could just change the dates and small details. The big square cartoons I made into circles by first drawing a circle the right size and then using a 'paste into' command in the graphics editor I use. I repeated this on the other pictures and then arranged them until they looked 'right' (please note: 'right' is a very strange concept when you are putting an image together, this includes arcane information on the laws of thirds, 'flow' and of course just moving things about until it seems to work). Here is the final bag image, and the way it looked once it was printed (twice, we printed it twice! But that's a whole other story). 

All On Time

So in under a week we had the bags (did I mention we printed them twice!) all ready to be packed the night before the conference for people to take home with them. So please, before you just put them in a drawer and forget about them, think of the work that went into the design, these bags deserve to be used.

The Stuff On Tobacco

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