Life is a Journey…

…and so is art!

Over the last few weeks, I have been posting about icon sets, breaking them down, explaining why they work. Today, I wanted to still do that, but with a vector rendered image instead. When I was searching, I came across the poster for a video game called Journey.

What is Journey?

Journey is an indie videogame that was produced for the Playstation 3 in 2012. The objective is to go on a journey as the robed character featured on the poster, traveling from the dunes to a far distant mountain. Along the way, discovering new and exciting environments that are beautifully crafted, solving puzzles, all with in a unique art style. Journey won several “Game of the Year” awards and other nominations, and came to be hailed as one of the greatest games of all time.


The Beginning

As we look at the poster, we see that it has a very simple, yet elegant design layout. As shown by the dotted blue line down the center, we can see that the composition is symmetrically balanced. We also note, that the image almost has a photography-like feel, and that is because the artist decided to place the horizon line on the lower third line (the thirds are marked by the red lines).


The Supported Storyline

Like mentioned above, the poster has a symmetrical balance along the y-axis. When we look at each section of the thirds (separated by the dotted blue line), we can see that centered on that y-axis is a major element that hints as to what the story of the game will take us through. At the bottom, the protagonist is standing alone, facing the end objective, the mountain in the distance, with the title literally saying that the character will undergo a journey from where he is standing, to where he is facing.

The Art Direction

Circled, we can see examples that there is consistent shape building within the poster. Each shape is built without a stroke, creating a softer relationship between each element of the design. When we look at the character at the bottom, we can see that it has more details, but each shape and detail still lacks a stroke, which helps to solidify it as part of that world, and one with environments that it will sojourn through.

The End Game

The poster once again shows through its application of principles of visual depth that it is a game with a cohesive style. A good way to indicate that a journey will happen from points a to b, the artist used atmospheric perspective. I outlined each part of the foreground, mid-ground, and background, as well as provided a strong red border between each illustrate this. The foreground objects are closest to us, so they have a darker value in their colors, as well as appear larger, and as the more towards the background the shapes and objects get, the less saturated and smaller they become. Because the artist also put a couple of different levels of mid-ground between the character and the goal, they want to suggest that the journey will be a long one.

Final Thoughts

I actually had the pleasure of also having the opportunity of playing this game. The poster design does a fantastic job of capturing the almost therapeutic and calming game play of the journey. The poster has very simple elements that are executed perfectly, a perfect reflection of why the game is so fantastic and awarded.

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