ReelAbilities Poster — Hierarchy

Jacky Lococo
11 min readSep 15, 2021

Initial Notes:

On first impression of the Film festival, I noticed that they are bringing together many different films all centered around showcasing disabilities representation in film. The main steps I took was grouping the different pieces of text as well as categorizing each part. I am a little nervous for this project just because I want to adequately represent the film festival and I think in the short span of time, it might be difficult to holistically showcase its goal.

Hierarchy Exercises:

In the exercises, my main goal was to try out a plethora of options that would work even if they might have not been what I originally would try. Here are some examples:

2 Stroke Weights:

For each of these, I tried out emphasizing both the name of the festival and the place. However, in the variations I switched up emphasizing the dates or the titles of the films. The main thing I noticed was that when I emphasized the titles of the films (left image), I was able to move through the writing a little better just because the titles were not as repetitive and long as the dates, so it made it more digestable to focus on.


For the linespacing exercise, what i mainly focused on was finding out ways to separate the title/place and the body text (films and times). In this exercise I mostly understood the grouping that felt most comfortable. When it was all evenly spaced, it felt like there was no place to start visually. Having the title/ overall dates and then the body copy grouped allowed me to be introduced with the “what” , get to the content, and then be lead out of the text with the place and website.

Horizontal Shift: Two flushed margins

Horizontal Shift: Three flushed margins

With the horizontal shifts I also approached it from trying to separate and contrast the body text with the title and place groups. I did this by indenting just the body text, then just the title and place groups, and then just the film titles. The indenting created a more nesting situation. I felt that this hugging of the text visually depicts how the films are within the festival, where as. The far left one was really difficult for me to read and I just wanted to try it out just to see how uncomfortable the viewer might be trying to read it.

Scale Exploration:

Paper Cutting:

While cutting up the different pieces, it felt a bit daunting.

Color Exploration:

Right now I am having a lot of difficulty with color. In the past, I haven’t been able to use color in the most effective ways. I usually pick black, white and then add an additional color to complement, but for this project, I feel I should incorporate more colors together.

I think a main problem is that I like to prioritize form a bit more than color, and when we went through the magazines, it was easy for me to fall into just wanting to look at how the form is used with the colors.

Color Exploration:

Reflection from Crit September 14:

The main points that I got from the critique were to focus on emphasizing and less is more. I think I’ve been going through all of the motions of trying to create a poster that visually looks like a poster, that I forgot the main purpose of this is to lead the viewer through an order of what to see when.


  • Go back a few steps and revisit what it is I need to prioritize
  • Look at the colors I generated from the magazine and
  • Make sure that the 15 ft, 5 in, 5 cm rule is working for my poster
  • Find Imagery that works for the poster/make my own

In order to move forward, I think I need to revisit the basics to somewhat get a grounding of what needs to be emphasized

Hierarchy Order Revisited:

When I revisited this exercise, the main things I reaffirmed were that the festival name itself and also the titles of the films would most likely draw the audience in from the 15 ft. Once they are drawn in that far, they would look at the time and the place. From there, I feel as though they would move closer in to see the specific times that each are playing.

Color Revisited:

Although I want to prioritize form a bit more just to have a clearer direction, I revisited the color activity and focused on trying to adequately represent my colors a bit more.


I am having a very difficult time with this section of the assignment. I feel like merging the ideas of film and the trying to adequately depict the topics they discuss are a little difficult. When trying things out, the first thing I decided to focus on was a graphic I made based off of the color palette I generated. My process is very much based off of working from for or gesture, and so although this didn’t end up being one of my options, it kind of re-centered the process for me. It also made me realize that flow and movement is something that is necessary for this poster.

From here, I was extremely stumped.

Photo Work

In order to not rule out photography without trying it first, I decided to work with some of the photos from the films. I wanted to create integration between the photo and graphics so I played a lot with overlapping vector shapes and the photos. I think this added some nice depth to the poster and made it a bit more dynamic.

In these examples, I played around with adding photos to the poster, but I both thought they were too specific to one of the films, and didn't represent the festival aspect of the event.

Generating a Graphic

For the direction I wanted to go in, I felt like a photo wouldn’t adequately represent the festival holistically. In the examples above when I would show only one of the movies, or one disability being represented, and I feel like thats moving away from what the value of the festival is which is representing disability as a whole. Because of this, I decided to use a graphic for my third image.

The process of creating the graphic started with the obvious options. Something like a movie reel is very obvious when it comes to a film festival, but I think establishing that foundation and baseline was something that would be a bit more grounding for me.

From here, I decided I needed to take everything a step further. Something I thought about was just trying to find a common ground within the festival. Most things about the festival celebrate difference and diversity of experience. They showcase different films with different themes and messages, and invite people with different experiences to their event. However their common theme throughout is the idea that they want to provide connection and information to people. This sense of connection is what I wanted to focus on in the graphic.

Sketches vs. Graphic:

The main difficulty I had while creating the graphic was the time crunch. All of Wednesday, I was kinda just frustrated that I couldn’t figure out the imagery and trying so many different ideas that didn’t seem like they progressed anywhere. At 11:00 before I thought I would leave, I figured out the graphic and there was very little time fore me to execute it. Becuase of this, I have a few things I want to change within the structure of the graphic over the weekend:

  • Create more flowing tape → flows better and curves less jagged
  • uniform thickness

Reflection and Crit Feedback:

I agree with all of the feedback and I think it definitely helped me layout a game plan of what I need to focus on for next week. Moving into the final poster work, I think there are the main things I need to consider right now:

  • nailing down color choices
  • refining graphic
  • refining reel placement
  • creating a grid structure with hang lines and headers
  • playing with scale of the reel
  • refine this idea

Working Towards Final Poster

Color Revisited

I tried out many different color pallets that might work for the poster, but found that the original chartreuse worked really well in comparison. I also played around with overlapping some of the items

Column Structure

Poster for Final Critique:

Post Critique Reflection:

In the critique, the main feedback I received was about the hierarchy not really allowing the poster to stand out among the other posters. Andrew also mentioned that my poster would do well with some white on the page to provide a bit of contrast and add another dimension to it a bit more. I think moving to the final I want to mainly want to revisit the scale hierarchy, maybe allow the elements to overlap a bit more and add some white to provide a bit more contrast on the page.

Experimenting with White:

I played around with the white on the poster a lot and what I came up with was not an excessive amount of white, but just on the space between the Reelabilities description and the list of movies. Vicki said that I need to put the white next to something that needs to be emphasized, and I think the description is the main aspect that needs to be emphasized. The title has scale to bring the viewer in, and I think the white brings the audience into the information section.

Final Poster:


I found this project both difficult and rewarding. I think the ReelAbilities prompt was a bit of a challenge because in addition to making a poster relating to the film, but also showing the connection to representing disabilities. This was challenging but also very rewarding when I found the design of the film reel that worked. In terms of hierarchy, I did learn a lot about breaking down the viewers experience and trying to put myself into their shoes a bit more. I think this was really helpful in trying to guide the eye and learn where it goes and why!