Illustrated Markets

Chicago-based design brand ODLCO, with illustrator Jingyao Guo, launched a Kickstarter campaign to produce a series of posters portraying open air markets around the world.

Illustrated Market
Open air marketplaces mix economic and social transactions between people with a variety of purposes: business, leisure, tourism, and daily shopping.
At the heart of every market is the energy of entrepreneurship. Vendors use makeshift tools and ingenious techniques to move their goods efficiently, while customers haggle with expert price negotiators to determine true market price. Many of these markets have been in operation for decades and directly reflect the cultural spirit of their locale.
Illustrated Market_01
Top: Jingyao Guo, Muara Kuin Floating Market, Indonesia, Odlco. Above: Jingyao Guo, Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo, Japan, Odlco
ODLCO was interested in the way that all the minute details of an environment add up to create a rich and lively atmosphere. They wanted to produce a series of drawings that would represent this, and invite others in as observers. Each drawing takes Jingyao about a month to produce, from initial research to the painstaking creation of the final illustration. Because of the time involved, the posters are released in stages, grouped geographically. The first three are Raohe Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan; Muara Kuin Floating Market in Indonesia; and the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan.
Illustrated Market_02
Jingyao Guo, Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo, Japan (detail), Odlco

The idea of the project cames up in 2010, when ODLCO traveled to Taiwan, spending a lot of time at the night markets. The kernel for the Market Posters project developed then. They were enchanted with the special atmosphere created in those markets, and they want to formulate a project based on their experience there.

So they proposed to Jingyao Guo proposed a series of illustrations exploring the atmosphere and configuration of different world markets. Soon after, they selected the first few markets in the series and started working.

Illustrated Market_03
Jingyao Guo, Raohe Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan, Odlco

The Taiwan Night Market was the first to be drawn, then, together with Jingyao, they did a lot of secondary research through image and video searches and descriptive texts written by people who had visited each market. Based on this, they made notes, Jingyao Guo sent sketches, and they worked together to refine the composition and content. First they settled on the view, and details were added bit by bit to make each drawing as specific as possible.

Each poster is rigorously composed—every sign, the goods sold, and even the textures of the walls and floors are based on research. Because they put so much effort into accuracy, the final pieces will ship with a small key to the drawing, explaining the special features of each market.


Marketplace Posters: Illustrated Scenes from World Markets
Illustrated by Jingyao Guo
The project is currently on Kickstarter.


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