Noir We There Yet? Bumper Sticker

I chose a bumper sticker for my radio show promotion design this week because what better medium is there to advertise for a radio show that you can listen to in your car than the bumper of the car in front of you?

I started off this assignment by finding the standard size of bumper stickers and used the top link as a template for my design.

I filled the 11.5 inch by 3.75 inch background with black, because this is noir. Then, I did a search for “graffiti noir font” because my first search of “graffiti font” yielded results that would not have been very appropriate for my intended design. I ended up settling on Bete Noir from cooltext.com  because it was almost exactly what I had in mind.

Bumper Sticker

I switched back to GIMP. After installing the font, I refreshed my font list, and realized that black on black wouldn’t work out, so I decided on a dark grey, which would work well with the image I intended to include. Before I actually began typing, I made a couple small changes to the settings, including to show the grid and snap to the grid for a better overall layout (I hoped).

After typing in the name of my radio show group, Noir We There Yet?, I decided to start with the graphic: a light post. I realized that this would give me a bit of extra work, but would get me even more acquainted with GIMP’s features, especially since I’ve been having a bit of trouble with exactly how selection boxes are manipulated. Sometimes they grab the foreground. Sometimes, when I try to move them, I shift the whole layer, and other times my copying and pasting don’t seem to work as intended.

Anyways, I used the rectangular select to create the pole, first. Then, I used the free select tool to create one half of the lamp portion, stopping and un-checking the “snap to grid” setting so I could make a centered pinnacle, and re-checked the setting in order to connect the other side back to the pole. Afterwards, I colored the post and lamp grey using the fill tool. It looked a little bare, so I used the Ellipse Select Tool to make two…ellipses that would form the base of the lamp post. I connected the two with a box made with the Rectangle Select Tool and filled all three with the same grey I used for the main post.

Next, I created the yellow lamp portions of my lamppost via the Free Select Tool and the “snap to grid” setting for evenness. I was left with a desolate, thick grey bar between the two of the sides of the lamp, so I used the Rectangle Select Tool to create a thin bar to bring a little more light from the lamp.

After that was done, I did some very simple work with the Rectangle Select Tool to make a few light beams that would shine toward the letters, then rotated them with, you guessed it, the Rotate Tool. Now, it was starting to look like something.

I took the proverbial “step back” and glanced at my work thus far. It looked alright, but kind of bare. There was a little lack of flair. So I decided to duplicate each text box’s layer, and create shadows for the letters by use of the Perspective Tool; flattening and skewing leftward each box’s contents, then filling the results with a darker grey.  So, only 2 shades of grey.

The bottom left corner was looking a bit blank, and I realized my bumper sticker didn’t really give off the vibe of a radio station in any way. It was just my knowledge that connected the idea of “Noir We There Yet?” to my group’s radio show. So, I added in a blatant white box and filled it with “NWTY,” (Noir We There Yet?, incidentally phonetically ‘naughty’, like some aspects of noir–I’m looking at you, Mildred Pierce) FM”. And chose the darker shade of grey to give it an oddly satisfactory look–the lighter shade looked too unimposing, and I didn’t want to have a pure stencil look that black would have caused.

Now, I thought it looked good. But I thought the lamppost looked really random to be honest. It filled the role of making the shadows of the letters make sense, but it was just sort of floating there. So I went to my trusty Rectangle Select Tool and made a grey box. Then, I used the perspective tool to shift the soon-to-be sidewalk segment to the right, so it would trail off the edge of the sticker, which would made it seem like an edge itself, thus orienting the viewer toward the lettering on the left.  After I finished one, I just copied and pasted a 3 more squares onto foreground layers, then merged them together to form one object.

After I finished the sidewalk, I realized I should probably merge similar layers of text together, thinking this would reduce the file size in the end. Less layers, less memory, hopefully. Really, I don’t know if that’s the case, but I’ll continue operating on that assumption.

I then posted my image to Twitter, where I’m often spotted, with a reflective comment on the work done and the unlikelihood of my continuance.

It was quite a bit of work, but that’s probably because I was trying to work out the kinks of the Select Tools, and realized I hadn’t been anchoring them on the correct layers…doh!

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