• Olly Jordan

Chapter 64 - ArchieVerse - Riverdale - Posters - The Perfect Place To Get Away With It All - 2019

Updated: Dec 24, 2020

Here is the end result of all my hardwork. I knew that I always wanted to work on a poster design where there are multiple characters on it. After working on the perfume ad and teen choice projects at uni where I used just one portrait per design and they worked out good, I knew I wanted to push the boundaries myself by having multiple characters on a poster design. In this blog post I will discuss the logo design or Riverdale, the concept ideas and composition layouts, the finishing details, as well as the additional posters within the series, so the character posters and postcards.

Logo Design Development

I started the project with the logo, once I had the logo sorted, it helped inform the style of the poster that I wanted, so I kind of essentially juggled the whole project all at the same time.

Typography based on the classic font Arial. This typeface however is much like the town of Riverdale, looks perfect and normal at first glance, but when you really look, there is damage and it has imperfections. I painted the font so it would tie in with the idea that this is a project created with painted portraits, this is also the reason why I added the splash background behind it of blue and red - the colour palette of the show and my portraits.

However, when my poster design developed further and I wanted to go for a more vintage and 50s inspired look, this logo just wasn't working out. I wanted to go with a 50's inspired poster design because the town of RIverdale is kind of a merge of the 50's with modern day. The cars, computers/technology and settings are all very much from the 50's era, but the show is modern in the way that they all have smart phones of today.

The image above is a sign within the show. The vintage look of the typeface helped inspire my next logo design which ended up being my final design.

Here is the final logo design. I wanted to use a darker colour palette as it helped reflect the themes of the show. I added distortion and cracks to the 50's inspired lettering in the same way I did with the Arial font, as a way to reflect the seemingly perfect town at first glance, but it has damage and imperfections. I think that this logo is alot more successful as a whole as it not only is similar to one that is actually seen in the show, but it has a concept and thought behind it as it likes to the 50's aesthetic of the show.

Poster Design Development

In the screenshots above, I have tried to show the main stages of the poster designs development, from the beginning to the finished artwork. You can see that I was clearly working the poster design at the same time as actually producing the paintings because of the way that my paintings replace the photo references in the order that I painted them.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to have the blue and red splash mark making as my background as it would tie together the original paintings and the colour palette of the show. I also pretty early on knew how I wanted the characters to be positioned - Archie the largest because he is the main character, Betty and Veronica together as they are the two main love interests, Jughead next in size because he is part of the core 4 main characters, then Cheryl, Kevin and Josie smaller at the front as they are minor characters. Having Cheryl at the front of those three was important as it was in character for her because she is the girl who would demand the spotlight, but also her pose with her hands on her hips is so expressive, it would have been a shame to hide that. I also knew that I wanted the poster to be vintage 50's inspired to tie in with the aesthetic of the show, I just wasn't sure how that would necessarily look however.

You can see that quite late on in the design, the middle photo, that I had just finished my painting of Veronica and it was then that I made the switch to the new logo and poster design that looks pretty similar to the final artwork - the black background with the blue and red splash, the paper boarder. I made the switch to black as it helped reflect the darker tones of the show, I didn't want the poster to be bright and cheery with lots of white on it as that just isn't the vibe of the show. Coming up with this new design quite late in the time scale of the portrait paintings was something I did not intend on, but continuing to push the design further was a good thing in the end as it allowed me to get a much better poster design in the end.

It was also quite hard to think about how the poster would actually look while working with the photo references rather than the actual artwork, because it is hard to see how the portrait paintings would actually work in the poster design context and their relationship between the other character portraits. The photo references all have sharp edges and very obviously photoshop collaged together references, they were fine for the purpose they served, but it didn't have the splashes and paint dribbles from the paintings that help make the poster design so successful, as that is what ties the portraits in with the backgrounds.

After coming to the new poster design concept as discussed above, it was just a case of playing around with paper qualities/textures, and how to incorporate the tagline, logo and acting credits. The other main thing that I experimented with here was the finishing of the text, how to make the text look rougher and worn down, making cracks and imperfections just like the town the characters live in. If I had all clean and perfect text, again, it wouldn't have reflected the vibe of the show. It was an interesting process to go to this much detail and consideration on my own, seeing as this was my first independent project after finishing my illustration course, so it was good to see that I can be my own critic and push every aspect of my designs to have more concept and thought behind each choice. Then finally I played around the paper texture itself, the same reasons as discussed before, I added scratches and rough edges to the poster to give the poster an older feeling and like it has been through alot, just like the characters of the town of Riverdale and how it isn't the perfect town like it appears at first glance.

Character Posters

Using the same design choices from the main Riverdale poster, I wanted to create individual character posters. I wanted to have character descriptions within the portraits that play on stereotypes or what Jughead's overarching narration of the characters within them show describes them as, eg. Betty is often referred to as 'The Girl Next Door' as a play on the idea that she is literally a neighbour to Archie, but also the archetype of being the traditional or “all-American” gender norms with the allure of purity, simplicity, and effortless beauty. The individual character backgrounds are just the original backgrounds that went with the portraits and then edited onto this poster context.


I also wanted to make the Riverdale series sellable in the smaller scale too, so postcards that used quotes from the show with artwork that I had already produced worked nicely.

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