Please support Game Informer. Print magazine subscriptions are less than $2 per issue


The[Crafty]Gamer: Justin Russo (Iconic Character Posters)

by Annette Gonzalez on Jun 06, 2010 at 07:00 AM

Want The Next Issue In Your Mailbox?

Subscribe now

It's been a while since we've seen a post in The[Crafty]Gamer series, but now it's back with a few awesome projects to show off in the coming weeks by everyday gamers from around the world. To kick things off in the resurrection of the series, we have fellow Chicago native, Justin Russo, and his specially designed posters that take memorable game characters and simplify them to their most iconic forms. Check out the post for the full suite of images and find out how he develops the designs.

Name: Justin D. Russo

Age: 27

Hometown: Chicago

Occupation: Graphic Designer

Creation: Iconic Video Game Posters

Tell us about the posters and the inspiration behind them?

It initially began with the Big Daddy poster. The image came to me in a dream and I just had to make it. There wasn't a grand plan behind it, I just made it. When I completed it, I realized how fun it was and that inspired me to make more.

Tell us about the process of creating these posters.

I suppose its sort of the reverse of the old Atari box art, where something complex had to be created from something simple. I took some fairly complex characters like Big Daddy, Nathan Drake, and Old Snake and tried to boil them down to their simplest, most iconic forms. It became a matter of arranging shapes and colors in Illustrator until they started to represent the character. I then used Photoshop to add a bit of the roughness. The characters themselves were chosen not only because I thought they were important and recognizable, but because I really I like them.

What sorts of challenges, if any, did you come across when pulling these pieces together? What solutions did you come up with?

Some of the posters were actually really easy to pull together. Louis from Left 4 Dead, Mario, even the Big Daddy. The biggest issues I ran into were with Isaac Clarke and Old Snake. Old Snakes outfit in Metal Gear Solid 4 didn't read as entirely memorable or iconic at first, and the addition of the symbol, and later the quote really drove it home. With Isaac Clarke, it became a bit of a negotiation with myself and how many layers could I add before it became too much.

Are the posters available for sale anywhere? If so where and how much?

I had a Kickstarter project going to get some of them printed, but thats over now and they're being printed now and will be sent out to donors soon. So as of right now, they aren't available for purchase. But I plan on rectifying that soon and hopefully I'll have something to announce by the end of the summer. Just keep an eye on my blog for that.

Anything else you’d like to add about yourself (Background in arts? Favorite games? Etc.)?

I created this project simply because of my love of video games, and specifically these games. I could create an entire series of these based on Uncharted alone because I love those games so much. It comes entirely from a place of passion. And I'm so glad to have met and become friends with other equally passionate individuals through these posters.

Any Web links to other work?

All of my work can be seen at or my blog.

Will we see more video game-themed posters in the future?

If not posters, then something else. I don't know what exactly, but I can definitely say that video games will continue to inspire and inform my creative output from now until they stop making awesome games.

The[Crafty]Gamer has officially moved from the Editor Blogs section to the Features section. We are regularly looking for new entries, so if you'd like your work featured, please send me an e-mail to express your interest and I will follow up with details: