Bringing the Beijing Opera to Life with Rikke Hansen + Revitalizing the Spirit of Music

As a creative, you understand the power of design to evoke emotions and transport the viewer to another world. One Poster 2024 entry, designed by Danish illustrator Rikke Hansen, is a tribute to the “Beijing Opera” (above, left), showcasing Hansen’s mastery of color, images, and texture. Submitted for the International Beijing Opera Art Poster Biennale 2022, this poster takes you on a journey to an opera house, where you can feel the energy and excitement of the performance. Whether you are a fan of the Beijing Opera or simply appreciate exceptional design, here’s a look at the project.

The focal point of the poster is a black mask that is commonly seen in Beijing Opera performances. It is constructed of circular and semi-circular shapes, showcasing the theatrical and exaggerated nature of masks and makeup in the opera, as opposed to a more naturalistic approach. The use of three-dimensional pearl beads surrounding the upper part of the black mask represents the beads that often accompany headwear worn in the Beijing Opera. To imitate the various dances and movements one might see in their shows, Rikke adds green streaks beneath the pearl beads to make them appear as if they are shooting outwards beyond the poster. Movement can also be seen in the mask itself, as the lines of circles curve and spiral. The three primary colors—red, yellow, and blue—are present in this poster, which is a given since they typically appear in Beijing opera costumes, and are layered beneath the pearl beads and black masks. Rather than use plain ink to fill in these background circles, Rikke fills them in with a fiber texture, adding dimension and giving the illusion that they are soft to the touch. Lastly, the strategic use of a light pink background ties everything together, yet does not pull the viewer’s eye away from the mask. 

Revitalizing the Spirit of Music: Primoz Zorko’s Poster for the Montreux Jazz Festival “Restart”

After a year of silence due to the pandemic, the iconic Montreux Jazz Festival returned in 2021 with a resounding message of hope. With the theme ‘restart,’ the festival aimed to symbolize the rebirth of the world and the healing power of music. Here we take a look at Primož Zorko’s Graphis Poster 2024 Awards entry and his submission to the festival. 

By: Primož Zorko

“The Montreux Jazz Festival is a legendary jazz festival that is also known for entrusting the creation of its official poster to Swiss and international artists since 1967. Keith Haring produced a trio of posters in 1983, then teamed up with Andy Warhol for another in 1986. David Bowie created a poster in 1995; more recently, Yoann Lemoine (aka Woodkid) and Malika Favre have done the same.

“In 2021, the festival made an open call for the official poster of the post-pandemic festival after a one-year hiatus with the theme ‘restart,’ marking a new beginning for the festival (and the world). It was springtime when I was conceptualizing a poster. The view outside my window and the uplifting, positive feeling of new life, a new beginning, the sort of reset and restart the spring brings, inspired the poster design.

“The protagonist of “RESTART – Montreux Jazz Festival 2021” (above, right) is the stylized primrose flower, one of the first flowers to appear in spring and whose name, trobentica, in Slovenian literally translates to ‘trumpet,’ like an instrument creating that bold and bright sound that jazz is well known for. I wanted to capture the moment and feeling of nature awakening after winter, the first warm rays of the sun, and the bold and optimistic (sound/music) announcement of new life and the beginning of a better period with this act. So basically, the music (and the Montreux Jazz Festival) are the messengers or even the initiators of this new era.

“As always, I did the first sketches and the poster layout by hand, then started illustrating in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. This image takes the main stage in the poster composition. All the information is organized on the left side with a playful typographic treatment in which each word is a variation of the typeface, representing different sections in jazz composition. ‘Restart’ as the poster’s theme and message is done with hand lettering and is growing from the sidebar like a living organism with a bit of pink “spring blush.”

“Unfortunately, the poster did not win the competition, but I was glad to see it exhibited and awarded at various design biennials and award shows. I hope it still brings a message of positivity and hope to the viewers outside of the festival’s context (this is another reason why all the text information is giving space to the image, with the awakening spring flower and the ‘Restart’ lettering taking the front role.)

“I am a freelancer offering wholesome design solutions: taking care of creative and art direction, executing the design, and doing illustration and photography both as a standalone or as part of bigger projects. This poster project was done entirely by myself, from conceptualization to designing and illustrating it, which makes me very proud. This was a pleasure project because creating for music and being able to translate visuals into messages, values, etc., is something that I relate to myself.

“Poster art is a medium that is very dear to me (and it’s in poster design that I have been numerously awarded in various design competitions). I do believe a good poster still has excellent communication (and aesthetic) power in spite of the digital format becoming (or actually being established as) the dominant channel for visual communication.”

About Primož Zorko 

Primož Zorko is an independent artist, designer, and photographer, active in commercial and art projects. Recently, he received the Slovenian Ministry of Culture’s Arts and Culture Residency in New York and won a special mention at the Brumen 10 Design Biennial as well as two Brumen Awards and the TDC65 Type Directors Club Prize for his work. He has exhibited individually and at collective shows at home and worldwide in places like Barcelona (MACBA, DHUB, Mutuo Centro de Arte, etc.), Venice (Venice Biennial – Fondazione Querini Stampalia), Moscow (Central House of Artists), Hamburg (Affenfaust Galerie), New York (The Cooper Union, OTS3), Toyama (The Museum of Modern Art), Belgrade (October Salon, CZKD, Street Art Gallery, etc.), London (Doomed Gallery Dalston, etc.), Vienna (Künstlerhaus Vienna), Basel (Museum Tinguely), Athens (E.Δ.Ω.), Bilbao (Belleza Gallery), Rome (001 Gallery), Portland (Disjecta Gallery), Amsterdam (Waag Society), Zagreb (MUO, etc.), and Ljubljana (MGLC, Ravnikar Gallery Space, Fotopub, etc.). Currently, he is living and working in Ljubljana. Website:

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Author: Graphis