We were recently asked by our good friend Ryan Trayte of The Rialto Theatre to collaborate on a venue-commissioned poster for Fleet Foxes‘ stop Tucson, AZ on their spring tour to support their new album, Helplessness Blues. Since we were both big fans of the band, we set our bar high in terms of what we wanted from the finished product. As a starting point we decided to dig in and do some research on the band, listened to the new record over and over again (it is damn good), and really dug into the meaning of the lyrics to give direction to our design.
We worked on three versions of the poster that we ended up scrapping. Our fourth concept was based around a connection we found between two of the tracks from the new record, Battery Kinzie and Lorelai. We discovered through an old youtube video of FF playing live that Battery Kinzie had been originally titled Lorelai, and that the two songs were two different views on the same subject matter, which sparked the idea for the diptych.
We took pieces from each song’s lyrics to craft our composition, and although on the surface it seems like just an artsy collage, every element was purposefully placed and actually makes sense. Pushing the dyptich even further, on each poster the content tiles on all four sides to reinforce the connection between the songs.
Here’s the breakdown of each element:
In Battery Kinzie (the poster on the left at top image), the songwriter is imagining (hence the mind’s eye on the silhouetted figure) his future as an old man (“I woke up one morning, all my fingers rotten” and “I woke up a dying man”) looking back on the decisions made in the present and fearing regret. The “mind rays” bleed off the edge of the poster continue on the other. The lyric also imagines the feeling of old age (“both my eyes are fading”), which we interpreted quite literally by adding a cataract to the eye in the figure’s head. Finally, the paper on the left side is a topographic map from the actual site of Battery Kinzie located on the now-defunct Fort Worden, in Port Townsend, Washington. Through a written interview we found out FF stayed in Port Townsend while writing the songs for the album.
In Lorelai (the poster on the right at top image), the songwriter is reflecting on the decisions made in the present, ignoring what he already has (the reason why the woman is partially covered up), soon realizing his regret. In the lyrics he mentions a diamond, which we construed as a metaphor for the relationship. The paper that tiles from the Battery Kinzie poster also has purpose on this one, as the lyrics state (“I was like trash on the sidewalk”). The dance steps above the paper were drawn based off of the traditional waltz box-step, which the song utilizes the beat of— 1-2-3, 4-5-6. Last, the posters are covered with dust, again directly referencing the lyrics (“we were like dust on the window”).
We screen printed the poster on Mohawk Loop Vellum “Husk,” a beautiful 110lb double-thick cover stock that is made from 100% post consumer waste and manufactured with renewable energy. As always, our entire printing process—including inks and chemicals—is non-toxic. It was our first time printing with this specific stock, and therefore we were a bit cautious, but it printed great. It wasn’t quite as rigid as other similar weight stocks, which made hand registration slightly more difficult, but the unique tactile finish of the paper far outweighed this minor difficulty.
After a total of over 200 hours spent between design and printing, we went completely overboard with this project, but it was an extremely fun piece to work on and we’re thrilled with the finished product. Click here to view larger images of the individual posters. The poster is for sale in our shop.