Happy Hour Again: Online Music Show Poster in Simplified Chinese

By Siyan (Iris) Shao

During the 2020 coronavirus pandemic quarantine, the Whiskey Sour Happy Hour, an online offshoot of Ed Helms’ live show aired every Wednesday through May 13th. One year later, we’re still not out of the crisis, so we need music shows like Ed held to bring those apart together. Localizing the poster would be an excellent way to promote this event in another country. You can find the original and localized poster below.

Check out The Made Shop for more posters designed by this team.

Working Process

Localizing the poster is a two-phase project: transcreation and then multilingual desktop publishing (DTP). Now Let’s go over this project step by step. Here is a picture illustrating the process.

Step 1: Transcreation

Translating texts in posters is different from regular translation works. It should fit the space or format, evoke emotion, and be culturally appropriate. Therefore, what we need to do is transcreation, a combination of translation and creation. When translating from English to Chinese, the length of the sentence can be up to 50% shorter. Taking “Happy” in this poster as an instance, if we directly translate it to Chinese, it would be “快乐”. We can see a four-character word is translated into a two-character word, so there will be lots of space between the two characters thus it will be a bit weird. Therefore, we should think of a four-character version without twisting its meaning. “快乐幸福” would be a great choice since it not only conveys the same meaning but also accords with Chinese expression.

To avoid getting back and forth between different tasks, we should put transcreation as the first step and create a bilingual glossary list, so when we are recreating the poster in the target language, we can just simply copy and paste the translations.

Step 2: Basic Recreation

There are different fonts and styles of text in this poster. Some only require basic recreation while others need more adjustment. I started with simpler ones in Photoshop. For example, the texts in these two pictures (the left is the original, the right is the localized) only require a replacement with similar fonts for Chinese.

Nevertheless, finding those fonts can take time. One handy tool is Adobe Fonts. It supports users to add filters to narrow down their search. You can also type in the translations to compare the similarity with the source texts. What’s better, it’s very convenient to use Adobe Fonts in Adobe software. All you need to do is click the button next to “Active font”, then you can find it in any Adobe software!

Step 3: Outline & Path Adjustment

However, simply replacing with similar fonts doesn’t work for some other characters in this poster. For example, for “Whiskey Sour HAPPY HOUR”, these characters have a unique style and are put in a non-horizontal position. So, I had to adjust the outlines of each character in Adobe Illustrator. Here is how I did it.

Besides that, if you really look into the poster, you will notice “WE’RE HERE TO FEED YOUR SOUL” under “AND HUNK DOWN” is aligned in a unique way. How can I achieve that result? Adjust the words’ positions one by one? Not a practical solution. A better way is creating a path with the Pen tool in Illustrator and adding texts, so the texts will automatically be aligned accordingly. The picture below shows how I did it.

Step 4: Export

The team that designed this poster is thoughtful and proactive. They realized the marketing had to be entirely digital due to the quarantine, so they designed the artwork to be modular, taking it to pieces for social media posts. This is what I did, too. I grouped layers for the same module and exported them separately.

Challenge & Solution

The most challenging task is adjusting the outlines of Chinese characters with complex structures like “聚”. When you created the working outline, there would be so many anchors that the structure would be distorted easily. I wasted much time undoing and redoing the same step because I didn’t really know how I could make it like the original in detail. It made me realize that we should have a draft design before the actual recreation. It would save so much time!

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