Yurou Zeng


Typographic ads that contain only words and geometric elements.


A passion project that resulted from my personal need to do some exploratory exercises in typography. Using a prompt generator, I was given the task of creating print ads for NASCAR and SFMOMA. 

The first phase of the project was research; I had to familiarize myself with the branding guidelines for both companies. I spent a couple hours browsing their website to find patterns and themes, then I began to look through past ads and other design work they've done.

For NASCAR, I knew I wanted the geometric elements to symbolize something and not just be floating objects in space. Thus the idea of striping a illustration of a car down to its core shapes was born. I wanted it to be just a tad abstract, a bit out there but still remaining recognizable. 

The concept of the poster within a poster for SFMOMA came from the iconic "This is not a pipe" painting by René Magritte. An image that appeared in SFMOMA's branding guidelines gave me the idea of the striped lines, and a elongated drop shadow for certain letters conveniently created a "5" for "The Fifth Season". 

Previous Iterations

DAYTONA500 Iteration

Looking at it outside the dark Illustrator interface made me realize that I really should have made "daytona" smaller to fit within the frame. Besides that, the reason I hadn't gone for this version was I didn't feel like the modern typeface was on-brand with NASCAR, it felt way too formal and "stylish". Also it could have very much been misread as "500 Daytona", but switching the order would make the poster awfully top heavy, which would've created a sense of unbalance for the poster.

I do love that each element is given space to breathe, that the geometric car is much more recognizable (I hope). Though perhaps the opposite is the exact charm of the final poster, where elements are overlapping and creating tension (very much reminiscent of car racing)!

SFMOMA Iteration

I played around with the subtitle of the work for quite a while in the design process. My main concern being whether or not to include "This is not a poster" on the ad. While I like that it mirrors one of Magritte's most famous works, I was also worried about the reference not coming across in the way I hoped. The three levels of hierarchy in the text was also a point of contention. It felt too busy and took away from the bold and minimalistic look of the main focus. 

In one of my iterations, I had taken out "The Fifth Season", but I was worried that the reason why the 5 was in the center would not be as obvious anymore. It was a tough choice to go back on my initial concept, but regardless I think the world could have done without my attempt at a humorous interjection. 

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