Analysing Aston Martin Racing posters

When I was at the Prodrive heritage centre earlier in the week, I came across a table full of Aston Martin Racing posters, as well as a couple of batches of MINI postcards. After a friendly chat with a Prodrive employee who runs the factory tours and oversees the day to day running of the museum, when I mentioned how much I admired these posters and was a graphic design student she allowed me to pick up copies of these posters. Interestingly she was saying how Aston Martin (who are owned by Prodrive, and have run the Racing programme since 2004) do all their graphic design in-house. This is unlike Land Rover who  outsource their design work according to my research.

Seeing these posters made me wonder as to the suitability of whether this format could work for my promotional materials I will produce, as I see comparisons between posters and high end brochures in terms of how creative the layouts are. Below are some photos I have taken of these posters, and I’ll talk through the main points along the way.

IMG_3830 One thing immediately apparent is the matt, textured stock. This has connotations of quality and is fantastic for a poster, as there are no reflections when viewed on a wall for example. The only trade-off can be the lack of vibrancy to the colours, but here, this is not a problem for the subtle, very classy monochrome colour scheme for the layout, combined with a image which works to complement the pale blue and orange colour scheme of ‘Gulf’, the main sponsor without being too brash.

The minimal approach is best summarised in the manner that the logo is represented as a flat vector image instead of the more realistic raised metallic wings which you can see on the older posters, which match the badges on the cars.

IMG_3831 The 6 Hours of Silverstone poster features a background that appears very abstract at first until I realised it was the silhouette of the car. It helps to connect the car to the rest of the background, instead of being in isolation against a totally black background, which would be a bit contrast heavy. Again, with the layout separating text from the image, this allows for excellent legibility to be achieved.IMG_3833 As I mentioned when I analysed some Aston Martin brochures, I am a big fan of the typeface Aston Martin uses. While it would not be wise to use this one for the Range Rover brand due to connotations being drawn between the two brands, I will see if I can identify what it is, if it is not a custom typeface, and seek out similar alternatives for a typeface research post I am in the process of writing.

IMG_3836Moving on to looking at some older Aston Martin Racing posters from 2005/6 when the DBR9 was raced in the GT1 category, I was interested to see how different the style was. The 24 Hours of Spa poster below was held at the end of July, and to match that, reds, oranges and yellows are used, as they provide connotations of heat, and summer.

Both the slanted angle of the image and text help to give it a dynamic feel, but I am especially interested in how the type is staggered to create a ‘motion blur’ effect to fit in with the image. This really highlights the performance aspect of motor racing.IMG_3827A double sided poster was produced for two American Le Mans Series events held just 9 days apart in May 2006, and being in America, it makes use of the red, white and blue stars and stripes present on the American flag, but instead of just showing the flag, an abstract pattern has been used instead, with blurred lines, that again suggests motion.IMG_3837 IMG_3838 I am not quite sure the neon green and blue colours fit the Aston Martin brand on the poster below, but in isolation, they certainly make for a striking poster that is very noticeable. They do also highlight the different liveries between the two cars, the DBR9 and DBRS9. As with most of the posters seen throughout this blog post, it highlights the drivers of the cars throughout the event. Although it’s only a small point, perhaps it would promote the drivers of the team more to include some small profile imagery of the drivers?IMG_3840 This is a very interesting style of illustration used for this poster, as it overlays the photograph with vector outlines. It gives the poster a technical feel, as the overlaid lines signify the complex underlying technical blueprints for the design of the car.IMG_3841I’m now going to turn attention back to the newer style of posters, but this time they are at a smaller size, being A4, compared to what I believe is A2. It makes use of the same design properties as the larger posters, which shows how flexible the designs are. IMG_3848 I noticed with this design the orange has been used more and more as an accent colour for text and ‘guidelines’, which works very well with the thin strokes and line weights, as the fluorescence makes it visually very strong.IMG_3849 The other A4 poster was of the 1000km race at Silverstone, when Aston Martin Racing fielded a team of three LMP1 cars. As the American Le Mans Series posters used their flag as part of the design, so has this one made use of the Union Jack, which blends into the horizon. Using this flag makes it very clear which country the event is based in, which means you don’t even need the text to say the U.K. Also, the U.K flag serves to note the nationality of Aston Martin here.IMG_3852 The grid underpinning the back of the poster is very clear, being split into three sections, one for each car and their drivers, with the addition of small monochrome profile images for each driver, which is a welcome addition. The image on the back clearly relates to the one on the front, albeit edited differently, and I was surprised to see it actually split to fit into that grid but it isn’t too noticeable with the thin margins.IMG_3853

Conclusion:

  • These posters all have a major focal point to them, that is exactly what is needed to get the audience’s attention.
  • Aston Martin has clearly transferred their design aesthetics seen across their brand identity to these posters, especially the more recent ones. Potentially designs created for the brochure could be also suitable for inclusion if I was to produce posters for this project as promotional material.
  • I have been considering producing posters, but it is not something I expect to transfer well to the audience of the Range Rover, as many posters are sold to people who attend a certain event, or are big fans of a certain organisation such as Aston Martin Racing.

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Edit (10/11/13) –  I have recently received a couple of messages via the Contact page on this blog from people inquiring as to whether I would sell any of these posters. To save people’s time, it is not something that I am interested in, as I was fortunate enough to be offered them, and I want to keep them, and feel it is good mannered to Prodrive to keep them and not sell them/give them away.

As to where such posters can be found, there is a good amount of Aston Martin merchandise available out there at surprisingly competitive prices, either from the Prodrive shop, Aston Martin website shop, Aston Martin Racing store or Ebay.

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