His Dark Materials

graphic design, layout

His Dark Materials is a university team project attempting to capture the story of Philip Pullman's famous trilogy in a series of posters and artifacts. It highlights my ability for teamwork and coordination, as well as general layout and graphic design skills, especially in geometric patterns.

The challenge

To summarize the core aspects of Philip Pullman's trilogy in a collection of 6 posters for exhibition display purposes. In addition, a special companion artifact needed to be presented, to further enrich the overall experience.

The design

The design was a collaborative between me and four other students. We decided to center our poster designs around dust, one of the main elements in the story, which served as a unifying element for our designs. For our artifact, we decided to create a tarot deck, as truth telling devices and methods, such as the alethiometer (the golden compass), are a core component of the series.


The dust ties the backgrounds of the six posters together, but each background has a subtle scene or element from the series. The backgrounds live on a gradient as well, to further tie elements together, and resemble the norhtern lights, which the beginning of the trilogy heavily relies upon. We decided our presentation of the story into four main posters: one capturing Lyra's path through the worlds, the multiverse itself, the main characters and various objects and mysteries from the series. A cover poster, as well as a presentation of the author, had to be included in our presentation.

Tarot Cards

This tarot deck contains 22 cards (Arcana Major), but the names and symbols for each card are inspired by Lyra's alethiometer, her truth measuring device known as the golden compass. The back design captures the three main artifacts of the series: The alethiometer, the subtle knife and the amber spyglass.

Methods and tools

All images were hand illustrated by members of our team, both for the cards and the individual drawings, as well as backgrounds, of the posters. The noise and dust were elaborated in Adobe Photoshop. The main posters were designed mainly in Affinity Publisher, with elements of Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Procreate was also heavily used for the illustrations. I was mainly responsible for the art direction, the layout, as well as the geometric card back design and cover poster centerpiece.

Other images

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