Type + Image: Dia de los Muertos Poster


Step 1: Research the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead.” Learn as much as your can about the holiday, it’s meanings, customs, traditions, history, symbology, etc.

Step 2: Visit this collection of grave stones. Choose an interesting vintage tombstone epitaph to interpret typographically. Don’t forget the typographic experimentation from the two previous assignments.

Step 3: Find a vintage illustration(s) or etching that is a public domain, or non-copyrighted image. There are many, many resources on the internet…

Your task is to combine the chosen text and imagery to create a poster to celebrate the spirit of Dia de los Muertos. You may use no more than three (3) typefaces. You may use three (3) base colors, but can utilize blending modes and opacity to create others. Use letter-spacing, leading, point size, etc. freely to convey the message. Use all of the type from the headstone. The basic rules of typography such as horizontal scale, baseline, alignment, etc. are of little to no concern for this assignment. Be creative!


  • increase your ability as a planner and form giver
  • develop an awareness of the relationship between design and meaning
  • increase and improve the quality idea generation (quality & quantity)
  • increase conceptual skills
  • increase your understanding and appreciation for typographic subtleties

Working Technique:

Draw ideas from photo references to establish spatial design relationships. Look at your text “creatively.” Find unique ways to represent your subject matter through photography, diagrams, illustrations, etc. Look at scanning techniques and drawing techniques to enhance your image selection. Research definitions, charts, graphs, etc. for unusual approaches for information graphics for your subject.

Suggestions: Evolve your thumbnail sketches into workable drawings for execution (concentrate on simplicity and stylization). Carefully consider artwork and photo characteristics (line weights, positive and negative shapes, etc.) as you begin. Work with the principal of “overlap” and create a strong visual hierarchy for your poster. Consider blending images to create new compositions.

Process: You will be required to maintain thorough documentation of your process throughout this and all assignments in this class. Keep a collection of everything pertaining to this project (research, thumbnails, sketches, illustrations, copies, etc.) and always have it with you. This collection will be turned in at the completion of this assignment and will be part of your final grade.

Project Components:

  • one 11×17 color print (unmounted) at due date
  • one hi-res digital version saved as a jpg or pdf
  • one process folder (digital or physical)


  • Oct 1 – Begin assignment: Research, brainstorm, sketch
  • Oct 6 – Have 10-12 loose sketches/thumbnails
  • Oct 8 – Three computer comps due
  • Oct 13 – Critique / Revisions / work day
  • Oct 15 – Revisions / work day
  • Oct 20 – Prints, digital version, and research documentation due

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