The Golden Key: Final critique, reflections and ‘elevator pitches’

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Final Reflections and thoughts:

What moment from the story is being portrayed?


It is the moment in the story where the boy is scraping at the snow and discovers the golden key. It is relevant because the story is all about the discovery of this key


Not a specific moment. Overall storyline told by the fading of the twigs. He wants to start a fire so collects a lot of them, and then slowly gets more and more distracted by his discoveries.


I gathered inspiration for my minimalist poster from various artists and illustrators, for example, Nathan Reed. The inspiration for the maximalist poster came simply from my process. I worked and experimented and worked and the ideas evolved. I guess I inspired myself?

Which way is my preferred method of working?

I personally enjoyed making the minimalist one. Not making it in the sense, staying up late at night and rushing and panicking. But the part where I go inspired by an Illustrator whose illustrations I saw in a book I read when I was a child.

Which is stronger?

I feel that the minimalist one is stronger. Mainly because of how everything seems to work together, even the type. The maximalist’s type wasn’t successful in my opinion, it looks integrated, but for someone who knows the story, it’s positioning may not make sense.

1 thing that works very well, 1 that doesn’t?

Min – The creepy aspect of the illustration and the integration of the type works well

The fact that I’ve put the boy very obviously into a keyhole, when the story is about a key seems weak. It’s too direct and could be uninteresting.

Max – The gradient of the twigs and the way they end up forming the type is strong.

The placement of the twig type is weak. Key is too obvious, and it seems to be an accident that it’s been placed further down, and not intentional.


I had a kind of creative of creative block after getting the strict critique on my Minimalist poster. With assistance I was able to get through that. So finding my way from gradients to THE minimal poster was difficult. For the maximalist, I found striking a balance difficult. Balancing how much of the type to show and how much to hide it took time and a lot of thought, testing and revisions.


I would probably work more on the maximalist posters composition. The way the type is placed specifically, gives the wrong idea. I would work faster, not focusing too long on one idea. I would revisit old ideas that I thought weren’t successful.

Things learnt (Technical+Conceptual):

Apart from improving my Illustrator skills and getting more used to using the tools, I also improved my Photoshop skills. I learnt about double exposure and other such things from the sharing of tips session we did in class. I also did my own tutorial watching to find ways of selecting things quickly and effectively. I loved the discovery of the auto-select. 

Conceptually I learnt to make things subtle. My minimalist poster is confusing to those who don’t know the story. But to those who do, it becomes an interesting conversation. I went from having the boy in a key in the image and a key in the title (too obvious), to having him inside the keyhole. I feel like even the keyhole is too direct, but again, striking the balance forced me to include it, otherwise the image would  not be able to make the link to the story.

Elevator Pitch session:

We had a surprise session of presenting our posters to fresh eyes (VIP visitors). Not only did this force me to talk about my work effectively, but it also revealed A LOT of things I didn’t notice as the designer.

I look so lost:

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A lot of people loved the character in the minimalist poster, and found the composition of the maximalist one beautiful. I wasn’t sure whether it sent the message to them, because most didn’t know the story. What did happen was that one of the ladies that came to my work, praised it, and went on to say how she gets the maximalist poster.

“It’s like a nest, right? Yes I get it, I get it, beautiful work.”

Shocked and unsure of what to do I kind of just nodded and was all “Yeah, nest! Thanks!”.

I’d already lost the ‘pitch’. If I wanted to explain to her how it wasn’t a nest, I’d have to tell her the story, but that would take time and by that time she had moved on to talking about the minimalist poster.

Now I could hope that the reason this happened was because my poster was right next to the Cinderella poster (which had a nest), but really I got where she was coming from. She TOTALLY got the wrong message, and the sad thing was that she was SURE of it.

This experience made me realise how IMPORTANT it was to test the posters on completely new people. And that my maximalist poster could do with a lot of improvements


5 thoughts on “The Golden Key: Final critique, reflections and ‘elevator pitches’

  1. Strong:
    For the Maximalist poster, I really like the idea of using the tiny branches, creative, and it makes the viewer come close to see the little details.

    For the minimal poster, your story is the golden key, yet your poster is black and white, interesting..

    For the Maximalist poster: the opacity of the title is low and I think if you darken the title just a little it will be stronger.

    For the minimal poster, I didn’t really get the poster..

    For the Maximalist poster, your color plate is interesting, somehow related to the color gold.
    For the minimal poster, B&W posters are usually strong and direct, so do yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • خ says:

      Minimalist poster: Strength: I feel that the colors are powerful according the final poster. Weaknesses: The title size, for me I think title should be balanced with the poster and the elements it self.

      Maximalist poster: Strength: I felt that your poster idea was creative and strong. Weaknesses: I can’t read the title, maybe if you used other medium or the burn tool on them it would’ve been readable. If you created a contrast between the title and the other twigs it might be better.


  2. Strength:
    Minimal- the use of color, in how you’re only using two colors is making it more interesting.
    Maxmilist- how you actually added the title is very creative :D!

    Minimal- I dislike how it’s all located in the middle which i feel that you still need something un-expected because it somehow making it boring in a way..
    Maxmilist- I think the color of the background need to be a little bit darker… i am not really sure…

    The typography in the minimal is letting it more boring, since i think you need a little bit of curvy type…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maximalist Poster: By creating your title and inventing a typeface with the branches is very strong and clever. I can feel your pain, while you were creating the tangible effect of the branches in Photoshop, which can be time consuming. I think you overly emphasized on the tangibility on the top of the poster, what if you removed a couple? I know that you have been experimenting with you background color, i think if you chose a litter darker shade will be more effective. The overall content is strong and is one of my favorite posters. However, being not familiar to the story i cant relate your poster to the story.

    Minimalist Poster: Using the key shape is obvious, from the title, but the way you have manipulated it is strong. Choosing you color scheme black and white suits her composition and context. The form of the character creates a path that directs the viewer’s point of you through the poster to the title. Very technical. Even though the title is centered, which can be boring and cliche, in your case i think it works perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

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