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Create an Apollo 11-Inspired Typographic Space Poster

One of the benefits of high quality fonts is that they come with many OpenType features, like alternate characters and swashes. These extra characters let us create more decorative, and interesting typography.

This tutorial will show you how to integrate custom type with a photograph to create an Apollo 11-inspired space poster. You'll also learn how to show off your finished work using a Photoshop Smart Object mockup.

We used a couple items from 2 recent bundles for this project. Click the links below to check them out and follow along with the same goodies.

Let's get started.


What We'll Be Creating


Step 1

If you want to use the same photo we are, visit our Designer Toolbox and download the project files for this tutorial first.

Open your photo in Photoshop. Ours is 16" x 20" at 300ppi, perfect for a large poster print.

You'll also need to grab The Complete Collection of Remarkably Good-Looking Fonts to use the same typefaces we are.

Type out the text "ONE" and "FOR" in Motherline Sans at 34pt using the color #E3DFD5.

Type out the text "Giant", "Leap", and "Mankind" as separate layers using Motherline Bold at 105pt using the same color.

Move them into position similar to the image below.


Step 2

Using the Type tool, highlight the "n" in "Giant". Open the Glyphs panel (Window > Glyphs). Choose Stylistic Alternates under the OpenType dropdown, then find and double click the lowercase "n" to replace the standard "n".

Note: Older versions of Photoshop do not have a Glyphs panel. You may be stuck selecting the letters with the Type tool, then toggling the OpenType buttons at the bottom of the Character panel to see if you like the alternate options.


Step 3

Do the same for the "p" in "Leap", and the "M" and "d" in "Mankind".

We used the "p" from the Stylistic Alternates set, the "M" from Stylistic Set 1, and the "d" from the Stylistic Alternates set.


Step 4

Next we'll add a very subtle gradient to each block of text.

Double click the "Mankind" layer in the Layers panel to open the Layer Style dialog.

Add a Gradient Overlay, and give it a black to white gradient, with the white stop set to the midpoint (50%).

Set the Gradient Overlay to the following settings.

  • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
  • Opacity: 10%
  • Style: Linear
  • Angle: 90 Degress
  • Scale: 50%

Apply the same Layer Style settings to the "Giant" and "Leap" layers.


Step 5

Select the "Giant" layer and give it a Layer Mask (Layer > New Layer Mask > Reveal All).

With a hard edged brush, paint black to erase any piece of text that overlaps the astronaut. Switch between black and white (X) to fill in any areas you remove by mistake.

Repeat these steps to hide part of the "L" in "Leap".


Step 6

Create a new black layer just above the "Giant" layer. Using the Brush tool, and a soft, black brush around 150 pixels in size, paint where the "t" overlaps the astronaut.

Set the Opacity to 65% in the Layers panel.

Hold ALT and click between the 2 layers in the Layers panel to create a clipping mask. This will clip the black to the text, making it look like the astronaut is casting a subtle shadow on the text.

Repeat these steps for the overlapping "L" in "Leap".


Step 7

Select all layers except the background and create a new Layer Group (Layer > New > Group from Layers).

Double click the Layer Group in the Layers panel to open the Layer Style dialog.

Add an Outer Glow with the following settings.

  • Blend Mode: Multiply
  • Opacity: 15%
  • Size: 150px

This will help the text stand out from the background just a bit more.


Step 8

Add a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer. Load the Photographic Toning presets by clicking the gear icon and selecting "Photographic Toning".

Select the "Cobalt-Iron 1" preset, which is the 3rd to last one.

Set the Opacity to 40% in the Layers panel to soften the color toning effect.


Step 9

Open the "Printeriors-09.psd" file within the Frisk Shop folder from The Top Rated Mockups Collection.

Click the eyeball icon to show the "16x20 in." Layer Group.

Within that Layer Group, hide the "Artwork with a Mat" Layer Group so we are working with the non-matte version of the mockup.


Step 10

Expand the "Artwork" Layer Group, then double click the Smart Object thumbnail in the Layers panel to open the Smart Object in a separate window.


Step 11

Switch to your poster design and copy it as a flattened image (CTRL + SHIFT + C).

Switch back to the Smart Object window and paste it (CTRL + V).

Close the Smart Object window and when it asks you to save, click Yes.

Optional: Add the same Gradient Map as we did in Step 8 just above the Background layer in the mockup to match the background colors with your poster.


Final Image

By using a font with OpenType alternates, we can create a much more interesting typographic poster.


Items Used in this Tutorial

We used a couple items from 2 recent bundles for this project. Click the links below to check them out and follow along with the same goodies.


How did you version turn out? Did you make any changes?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

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