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Poster Backstory: Andre Martin — ARTCRANK Seattle 2014

Written by in Profiles

Andre Martin’s Shout-Out to ’80s

Bike & Pop Culture

By day, designer Andre Martin works as a lead designer at Seattle’s Yiu Studio, a boutique visual communication shop where he works on everything from brand strategy, logos and collateral to packaging, interactive and environmental design. And while his job is 21st century to the core, Andre’s always had a flair for nostalgia when it comes to design.

ARTCRANK® and Neenah Paper

ARTCRANK® is a poster show about bicycles. Since 2007, ARTCRANK has staged more than 50 pop-up art shows featuring handmade, bike-inspired posters created by local artists and graphic designers in the U.S., the U.K. and France.

A longtime sponsor of ARTCRANK, Neenah Paper is teaming up with the show to highlight the work of four poster artists in 10 U.S. cities throughout 2014: Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC.

Each Poster Backstory feature follows the artist’s creative process as they develop their ideas and print them on a Neenah Paper stock, using craft techniques such as silkscreen and letterpress. Behind-the-scenes poster stories will appear on the ARTCRANK site and here on Against The Grain.

“I love looking at the lettering on vintage sports uniforms or the typography and layout found on old packaging and signage,” he says. “There’s a certain craft and grittiness that I’ve always found to be awesome.” Over the years, he’s managed to harness his love for the old school to great effect with his creative work. Martin drew on a healthy dose of nostalgia to tell a story of living and riding the Emerald City for this year’s ARTCRANK Seattle show.


“I immediately started to think about old memories on a bike and the stories that went with them,” he says. “The more I thought about it, the crazier and more complex the design became. All the choices made about the poster, from the hand-drawn elements to the colors and style were all influenced by the idea of telling a very nostalgic story.”


The Seattle native often incorporates hand-drawn lettering into both professional and personal work, which allows him to inject a level of personality into his work that’s not possible with digital fonts. His ARTCRANK poster, which stands as an ode to his experiences riding in Seattle over the years, puts his hand-drawn capabilities on full display.


While many of the poster’s design elements are drawn from Seattle sports teams, neighborhood landmarks and local bike lore, Martin also worked in references to the BMX cult classic movie Rad, Steve Spielberg’s ET, Garbage Pail Kids, Jolly Ranchers, and other 1980s pop culture touchstones.


“The thought of riding a bike immediately takes me back to my childhood,” he says. “I thought it would be fun to tell a story using a lot of visual elements to tell a story that’s part childhood memories, part cheesy 80’s pop culture and part Seattle history reinterpreted.”

Working with Neenah Paper’s Ghazal Varamini, Martin chose CLASSIC CREST® Cover Avon Brilliant White Smooth for the job, in part because its slight off-white tone helped enhance the nostalgic side of his poster’s story.


Having previously spec’d the stock out for client work, Martin had plenty of confidence about his poster would turn out, and he wasn’t disappointed in the results. “The final colors that I chose really popped well with the stock,” he remarked. “I was very happy with the results. Brandon over at Clone Press did an incredible job with the printing. Color matching and registration was spot on.”