INFO18081 Project 3: Photographic Collage

PROJECT BRIEF: Using your own photographs, you will manipulate and composite images using Photoshop to create a collage. You will choose a brand of your choice and create an advertisement. Your final image size must be 8 x 10 inches, at 300dpi. The use of collage must express an idea or concept to help sell the product, brand, or lifestyle associated with the client. The image must have a minimum of 4 combined images showing your ability to make selections, and use a minimum of 2 colour manipulation techniques.


Advertisement for LIPTON Yellow Label tea.


For this project, I chose to design an advertisement in Photoshop for the Yellow Label tea sold by Lipton. Instead of simply taking a photo of a tea box or teabag, I wanted to take on a different approach to the design and challenge myself to create something that would require more effort. The usage of specific gradients and colour schemes was essential to capturing the feeling that drinking tea evokes – comfort and warmth.

As usual, Pinterest was my muse and it was there that I found my source of inspiration. Having seen these manipulations in the past, they became more noticeable as I was searching for ideas. The idea behind them was to represent some sort of drink, namely tea, but incorporate the prominent flavour or fruit as the mug, cup or teapot. This was something that I wanted to recreate because it was a very interesting concept.


As per the brief, I was required to use a minimum of four (4) photos in this collage. The materials that I photographed were an orange, leaves from an evergreen, and the tag of a teabag. For each part of the teapot, different images of the same orange were used, in addition to the evergreen leaves. The teabag tag was also incorporated into the collage but was replaced with a version of it that was redrawn using the pen tool. In order to achieve a “steaming” look for the teapot, I splashed the orange with water to create droplets on the sides.


In order to portray a cozy and warm feeling through this advertisement, I used various tones of orange and brown, in addition to applying various gradients to simulate there being light shining upon the teapot. A third gradient layer was then added, its blending mode changed to “subtract” and its opacity toned down to 77% in order to bring out the dark brown tones.


One of the biggest challenges was creating the teapot out of the orange and making it seem as realistic as possible. First, to design the shape, each photo of the orange was overlayed on top of a sample teapot and with the opacity turned down, the extra areas of the orange were erased until only the selection was visible. Further refinements were done as the various shapes were put together.

An example of creating an handle out of an orange.

Once the shapes had been cut out, they were put together to form a teapot, then adjusted to be more cohesive.

Shadows and highlights were added to the teapot to simulate a light source and to blend each piece better.


In the manipulations that I had used as inspiration, I noticed that there was always a little something beside the makeshift mug, cup or teapot. Sometimes it was a food that accompanied the tea and other times it was something that implied what the tea tasted like. Instead of choosing to add orange slices on the side, I wanted to continue with the concept of comfort and coziness. I imagined someone drinking this tea on a chilly, winter evening and the first thought that popped into my mind was to incorporate some sort of evergreen leaves, since they stay green all year round and look beautiful in the winter.

Like the teapot, shadows and colour adjustments were added to change the colour of the leaves and offer the illusion of depth within the collage.


An element that I think was a nice, subtle touch to the piece was a slight reflection of the teapot underneath. It gave the illusion that the teapot was situated on top of a glass surface and made it seem more realistic, in my opinion. This was done by reflecting the teapot, reducing the opacity of the layer to 20%, adding a Gaussian blur, and slightly erasing the reflection around the edges.

More shadows were added to both the teapot and the leaves to make them seem more cohesive and realistic.

To finish off the small details, I used the brush tool and the smudge tool to create steam coming out of the spout of the teapot, as well as darkening the inner area of the teapot to make it seem like there was liquid inside.


The teabag was a piece that took me a little longer to create due to not having an actual Yellow Label teabag to take a picture of. Originally, I had used another teabag and cut out only the tag, as I had been planning to draw the string myself rather than cutting that out as well. When placing it onto the collage, the edges were very rough and I was not happy with the way it looked, so I took the pen tool and created a new teabag tag. The current design of the tab is visually similar to what it would actually look like in real life.

Using the brush tool and a lower opacity, I also added shadows from the teabag string onto the teapot, once again giving the illusion of depth and a source of light.


While putting together this design, I was searching for ideas on how to make the text portion of the collage fit in seamlessly with the other elements. Apart from using the Lipton logo, I looked through various box and teabag design for the Yellow Label tea and despite being unable to find the exact font, I used a font called “Renogare”, which was similar and fit nicely with everything else.

I opted out of using capitals for the tagline of the advertisement and decided to use lowercase letters, a concept that is more common with modern design. The font for it was “AWConqueror Std Sans” in the light version.


In many brand advertisements, I often see an image of the logo of the parent company that owns the brand being shown in the top or bottom corners of the advertisement. In this case, I added in the logo of Unilever, the company that owns Lipton to make it seem more authentic.

As mentioned earlier, I placed a gradient layer that was set to the “subtract” blending mode, then reduced the opacity to 77%. Originally, I had also used other blending modes to create variations with the gradient, but chose that one in the end.

Finally, using the colour lookup adjustment option, I added a 3D LUT called “Horror Blue”, which placed a colouring preset on top of all layers. The opacity was turned down to 50%.


I had a lot of fun designing this collage. It actually surprised me how much effort I had put into this piece and how extensive my Photoshop skills had become since the beginning. It was a big challenge to create a realistic-looking teapot out of orange, but it was one that I am proud of. By far, this is one of my favourite projects of the semester.