July 12, 2022 • Design // Illustration

The Red Line Project, artwork edition

In the process of building The Red Line Project’s new website, I formulated some ideas for its visual presentation — using, naturally, the Chicago Transit Authority’s Red Line train stations as inspiration.

The plan was to go to a couple nearby stations, take some photos, clean them up a little bit and use them for the basis of the header and promotional art.

Unfortunately, to the surprise of probably no one except I guess me, the photos looked different in my camera than they did in my imagination en route to the station:

Grimy tiles, dingy lighting, chipped paint, and my own crooked photography skills certainly didn’t help either. This, above, is the only photo I could find still on my computer. The rest, of various signs and other Red Line imagery, were no better and mostly were worse and not long for this world.

Rather than salvage my unsalvageable photography or deem the field trip a complete waste, I used the photos as modeling shots and built my own Red Line wall and signage from scratch in Photoshop — free of lighting, grime, wear, tear and bad camerawork concerns, but (hopefully) unmistakably deferent of the source material it’s emulating.