WEB POSTER EXHIBITION - The making of an "Elias" poster by Jean-Benoit Levy

How to create of a poster for the latest production of an oratorio choir ?

After the posters for Arthur Honegger's King David and Herman Suter's Le Laudi, this is the third time that graphic designer Jean-Benoit Levy from Studio AND in San Francisco is offering to have a look into his personal poster design research by showing 14 preliminary versions and the final design for his latest poster.

For the street poster for one of his swiss clients the Choeur Faller in Lausanne - Jean-Benoit Levy had to find a new idea, this time for the oratorio Elias, composed between 1845 and 1846 by the composer Felix Mendelssohn- Bartholdy (1809 1847) in Berlin.

The story of Elias can be found in the chapters 17-19 from the biblical Book of Kings. As Elias is a prophet, graphic designer Jean-Benoit Levy tried to express the story trough diverse visual ideas. As in religion, a prophet is a person who has been contacted by, or has encountered, the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this new found knowledge from the supernatural entity to other humans, Jean-Benoit Levy tried in two sketches ( 1 + 7 ) to use unsharp silhouettes taken from contemporary photography to represent the prophet, but according the client, this metaphor was too much directed toward a theater play.

The use of various pictures of the sky a theme applied already for two earlier posters for the same client, King David and Le Laudi was of course very tempting.

But either the use of the typography on the horizon ( 3 + 5 + 8 + 9 ) emphasizing the apparition of a prophecy , flying letters building the name of the prophet nor a very modern graphical effect from photographer Daniel Furon of a ascending or descending triangle trough the sky ( 11 + 12 + 13 ) did not convinced the client, Jacques-Henri Addor, president of the Choeur Faller.

It is after a deeper research that the use of a tree, symbolizing the knowledge, a certain wisdom and a wider vision did find a particular interest from the client. It is with this metaphor of the tree, combined with another strong symbol, the fire ( 10 ), symbolizing the intensive presence of divinity, that Jean-Benoit Levy found it's luck with a picture of a bush fire taken again by Daniel Furon of San Francisco. This picture of a burning tree, combined with an ascending classical uppercases centered typography expresses the connection between the earth and the sky. It also simply functions as strong eyecatching graphical element for pedestrians and drivers in the streets of Lausanne.

The Choeur Faller will give a single performance of Elias in the Cathedrale of Lausanne, Switzerland, on the night of December 2, 2009.


2) Photo: Daniel Furon, San Francisco

3) Photo: Max Kellenberger, San Francisco

4) Photo: Daniel Furon, San Francisco

5) Photo: Daniel Furon, San Francisco

6) Photo: Daniel Furon, San Francisco

7) Photo: David Gaz, Los Angeles

8) Photo: Daniel Furon, San Francisco

9) Photo: Daniel Furon, San Francisco

10) Photo: Daniel Furon, San Francisco

11) Photo: Daniel Furon, San Francisco

12) Photo: Daniel Furon, San Francisco

13) Photo: Daniel Furon, San Francisco

14) Photo: Daniel Furon, San Francisco

15) Photo: Daniel Furon, San Francisco
This is the final design, printed in 90x128 cm size

This is the photo by Daniel Furon of a bush fire that Jean-Benoit Levy used for his final two designs:

home  previous exhibitions  page created on November 11, 2009 / this section is part of Rene Wanner's Poster Page /