This past fall I had the opportunity to do a theme design for a local charity in our town that does transitional housing for recovering addicts.  They have a wonderful ministry in our community and I was so glad to be able to serve them in this way.  They were having a gala to raise funds and were focusing on a theme of “Ripples of Recovery”  As I talked to their board members about what they were looking for, they were struggling to find a visual effect to show their theme.  They wanted a ripple in water, calming colors, elegence in design as the night was going to be an elegant event.  Their theme was about how when one person starts to go through recovery, the effects of that one man getting help ripples out to his family, his friends and his community.

I started working on it and started finding some really neat ideas.  One place that I have found a lot of great photos for themes and designs recently is a website call  It has free pictures from independent photographers who post there.  It has so many beautiful photos.  I created the idea pallette below based on a beautiful picture of a ripple flowing out underneath a tree.  This is something I loke to do with clients.  They give me the bones and i can come back to them with a theme idea, design snippets, etc.  This then allows them to say, “I like this,” or “I don’t like that” before I get too deeply into the design.  With this design, there wasn’t much that they didn’t like.  A few tweeks to the theme and I was ready to start designing.  

They needed a few things for social media but mostly they wanted posters they could use to start advertising.  I had previously reworked their website, so I was able to create an event page for them as well using the same theme.  

I really wanted the poster to be really elegent.  I started peeking around online to see what kind of posters had been made before.  Using the search “elegant gala poster” and “gala poster” I found some really interesting ideas across the internet.  Taking what I had learned I started working on the poster.  I wanted the poster to be beautiful, but I also had to incorporate a lot of information onto it as well.  Using lines, shadows and alternating colors, I was able to accomplish this.  you can see the end result below.  I also did a larger tabloid size version.

As you can see, the theme is clear – but more importantly, the why is clear.  Ripples of Restoration, a Gala to Benefit Jeremiah Tree.  As I’ve said in previous posts.  You want the most importnat information to be super easy to find.  You have the title, the why, and also the date easily found and capturable in one glance.  All the other information comes at the second glance – it’s the gravy.  I have a friend who is a trained designer and she was impressed (that made me proud, haha).  Using lines, color contrast is also important in seperating out information.  This does that subtly but is also defined.  I think the hardes part of this design was getting the shadow under my banner par JUST RIGHT!   Sometimes designers take the longest time on the smallest part.  Howver, details are important in design and a small change or correction can make a big difference.  

Tell me what you think below!!