Creating the “Mad Men” Look Part I: Black Tie Optional
Watching the final season of AMC’s Mad Men, we thought we’d pay tribute to its seven-season run with a Mad Men-inspired invitation tutorial.
Our love for Don Draper and friends (enemies), however, is not our only motivation; the show’s iconic 1960s style has become a favored go-to look for graphic designers—for reasons you’ll see below.
To get started, we’re going to need a suit—a 1960s suit. Storyblocks (formerly GraphicStock) has no shortage of ready-to-go options for this, of course, but it’s worth knowing how to create this look on your own if you can’t find what you’re looking for in a vector.
It’s really quite easy to flatten and stylize the photograph below, found in its original form here. All it takes is a very rough trace of each selection (shirt, tie, lapels, etc.). Simplistic lines will actually work better here, so don’t worry too much about staying in the lines; just use the pen tool and trace approximately, keeping each element in a separate layer to maximize your options later on.
As soon as the tracing is finished, we can turn each of the layers to solid black and white.
The resulting image is 90 percent there, but the lapels are lost by the black on black—which is why it helps to use separate layers.
Throwing a soft gradient over the lapel layers adds the necessary separation without any unnecessary complication.
Add some text—we’ll go with Trade Gothic Bold to mimic the font from Mad Men—and the cover of our invitation is complete.