Inspiration to Final Product

What's Dope Open Mic started as an idea and was inspired by a poster. Over the MLK holiday weekend we celebrated 9th Wonder's birthday in style at Baby Wale in DC. If you don't know 9th Wonder, you should. He is a Grammy-award Winning Producer, Harvard Fellow, Universal Zulu Nation King, Hip-hop Head, Husband, Father and my brother in the UZN Black Jedi Chapter, which he organized and leads.

As the first time there, I took the time to check out the space and all it's cool features; exposed brick, lit hanging tree from the ceiling and vintage Go-Go posters lining the walls. One of my favorite parts about their layout was taking direct inspiration from the posters and creating drink information with that same style and using them behind the bar.

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My brother, Malcolm had been working on the idea for doing an open mic event in Downtown Annapolis and was instantly inspired from the posters. The design is a classic one, which in my opinion will never really go out of style. It's such a simple and eye-catching way to get information across. I think the thing that I like most about them is the layout of text, which either required a traditional screen-printing method or hand setting of each letter. They're never perfectly spaced or lined up and sometimes use a bunch of different fonts. In modern Graphic Design, this would be criticized, but with these posters, it adds a sense of distinction and personality.

With our parents being from DC and having living there before the more to Maryland, the culture of Go-Go and the art and design that surrounds it will always have a place in our heart. When Malcolm said "D, you see those posters? That's what I want my open mic posters to look like!", I was immediately on board.

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After that night, this idea was etched in our minds. We got together, had a creative pow-wow, did some research and moved forward with creating the poster for what is now a monthly open mic at Metropolitan Kitchen and Lounge in Downtown Annapolis.

For the color palette, Malcolm was influenced by A Tribe Called Quest and their use of red, green and black for their album covers Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders.

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Once we were finished with that, we created an inverse version just for fun. We ended up liking it just as much as we liked the original.

This was such a fun poster design project to work on. I like the process of creating; the beginning and end. I love being inspired and working with that inspiration until the final piece is exactly as you wanted it. In this case, we are very happy with the final product.

Hope to see you every first Thursday at the What's Dope Open Mic, hosted by my brother, Malcolm McFadden!