McAdams, in her own words
Day job: Owner/designer, Amy McAdams Design
Home life: married with dog and cat, 8-year Indianapolis resident
Other work: logos, brochures, annual reports, invitations
Further info: amymcadams.com
I started doing posters when I worked at CSKern in Muncie, Indiana (1996-2001). I worked on the Ball State University Tennis and Basketball posters, and immediately realized I had found my niche as a designer. It was and still is my favorite type of design project to work on.
The Harrison Center and I worked out an agreement a few years back: I needed a studio space and they needed a poster designer. For a while we did trade and then, when I moved out, the relationship continued. Today it's still one of the most creative outlets I have from month-to-month. They allow me almost 100 percent creative freedom and they are really great to work with.
Poster design most definitely gets respect nationally/internationally. The designers are typically a mix of fine artists and graphic designers, so there's a crossover into the art world. I don't think it gets as much attention locally, though, outside of the creative industry. I'm not sure why.
You're not going to get rich designing posters, but you do get a sense of fulfillment that's different from other projects, I think. Speaking as a graphic designer, it's a way for me to stay in touch with my fine art roots. I try to approach my poster designs as if I'm working on a piece of art.
In my opinion, the most beautiful work being done today is poster art.
Case study: 2008 IMAF Poster
I had already been working with the Harrison Center for a while, so our relationship was established. I was deep into my creepy medical illustrations/found art phase and always loved this muscular diagram. It had been sitting aside just waiting for me to use. Since the art needed to represent both musicians and artists, I wanted to somehow graphically represent the moment when creative people, in general, get that great idea, that "aha" moment. That's where the transformation aspect from raw/exposed to beautiful butterfly came to me. I liked the idea of keeping the poster very stark, but showing this explosion inside someone's head.
The poster got pretty good response and it's always been one of my favorites, mostly because I was able to leave a large portion of the poster untouched. Pure white space. That's not something a designer gets to do very often.