Learn Inspiration

How to Make Your Own Shepard Fairey Hope Poster

By Melanie Doncas | Inspiration

Cast your mind back to 2008, when an iconic, street art-inspired poster emerged in the lead-up to the U.S. election. That poster was none other than the Barack Obama "Hope" poster by artist Shepard Fairey, which featured the former president in the colors red, beige, and blue. With the word “Hope” emblazoned across it, the artwork transformed Obama from a presidential hopeful to a visionary icon in the eyes of many.

If you’ve ever wanted to recreate your very own version of this design using a portrait of your choosing, you’re in luck. BeFunky’s Photo Editor has the perfect Photo Effects and tools to get the job done – all within a few clicks! We’ll show you how.

How to Make a Shepard Fairey Hope Poster

Ready to get creative? Start by heading to BeFunky’s Photo Editor, then Open a portrait photo of your choice.

Step 1: Add a Black and White Photo Effect

Navigate to Effects (the star icon) on the left-side menu, followed by B&W Tones. A black and white effect such as these will give your photo optimal contrast, which you’ll need for the next Effect. We used B&W Tones Effect 14, but you can choose one that makes your photo truly pop.

B&W Tones Shepard Fairey

When you click on an effect, you’ll notice you have three options: Settings, which allows you to adjust elements of the effect such as Highlight and Shadows; Cancel, which cancels the selected effect; and Apply, which applies the selected effect. There is also a slider located underneath these options, which allows you to increase or decrease the selected effect.

Step 2: Adjust Highlights and Shadows

Click on Settings and alter the effect’s Highlights and Shadows by adjusting the sliders underneath each, if you need to make your portrait pop even more. Once you’re happy with how your B&W Tones effect looks, just click the blue checkmark button to apply.

Adjust Highlight and Shadows Shepard Fairey

Step 3: Add a Pop Art Photo Effect

Staying in the Effect menu, navigate to Pop Art and click on Pop Art 11.

Person, Human, Monitor, Display, Screen, Electronics

Next, in the Settings menu of the Pop Art 11 effect, click on the colored square next to Color Value 1 and type # D71A21 into the HEX Color Code section. This is the red hue used in the original blue and red president poster. Click the blue checkmark to apply.

Pop Art Effect Shepard Fairey

Step 4: Crop Your Photo

Since we only need the red portion of our image, we’re going to crop this section. to do this, navigate to Edit in the menu on the left, followed by Crop. Adjust the crop section accordingly, then click the blue checkmark.

Crop Photo Shepard Fairey

Step 5: Change the Portrait Color

Next, we’re going to change the black color of our portrait so it’s the traditional navy-blue color used in Shepard Fairey’s version. In the Edit menu, click on Replace Color. Select Source Color, then use the Eye Dropper Tool to select the black hue of your portrait. Then, select Target Color and type #00324D into the HEX Color Code section. Finally, click the blue checkmark to apply.

Replace Color Shepard Fairey

Step 6: Add More Color to Your Portrait

Navigate to Touch Up in the menu on the left, then scroll down to find Paint Brush. Click the box next to Color, then type #7CA4AE into the HEX Color Code section. Adjust the slider underneath Brush Size, if necessary, then use your cursor to "brush" on the blue color, as pictured below.

Add Color Shepard Fairey

Pro Tip: Zoom right in on your portrait using the slider at the bottom of the screen. This will allow you to trace your image more accurately.

Add Color Layer Shepard Fairey

Step 7: Repeat, Using a New Color

Repeat the steps above, this time changing the Paint Brush Color to #FCE4A8. This is the original off-white color used in the Obama Hope Poster. Once you’re happy with how your image looks, click the blue checkmark to apply.

Step 8: Open the Original Photo 

This next part requires you to click Save > Save as Project so you can come back to it in a few steps. Then, Open your original portrait photo again in the Photo Editor, as we’ll be adding a different effect to it entirely.

Monitor, Display, Screen, Electronics, Text, Person

Step 9: Add a Line Artopia Effect

With your original portrait opened, navigate to Effects, followed by Line Artopia. Click on Line Artopia 2, followed by Settings. Adjust the Color to the HEX Code #7CA4AE. Then, adjust the Line Angle to 90. Finally, click the blue checkmark.

Artopia Shepard Fairey

Step 10: Open the Previous Project

Save your image, then Open your previous BeFunky Project once again. Navigate to Image Manager in the menu on the left, then click on the green buttons at the top to open the photo you just edited from your BeFunky account, Facebook, Google Photos, or Computer.

Person, Human, Monitor, Display, Screen, Electronics

Step 11: Add the Line Artopia Image as a Layer

Right-click on the uploaded image, then select Add as Layer.

Add Layer Shepard Fairey

Step 12: Adjust Blend Mode

Drag the image’s corners outwards to make it larger so it covers your entire canvas. Then, from the Image Properties panel, click Options, and select Darken as the Blend Mode.

Person, Human, Screen, Electronics, Monitor, Display

Step 13: Reposition the Layer

You don't want the lines on the red, bluish-green, and blue areas of the image, so you may have to move the layer around until it looks good. Additionally, you’ll need to use the Cutout tool to remove any parts of the lined image that remain. To do this, click Cutout from the Image Properties panel, then use your cursor to paint over the parts of the image you wish to keep or remove. Click the checkmark button once you’re happy with the results.

Cutout Image Properties Shepard Fairey

Step 14: Add a Colored Rectangle

Now it's time to add an inspirational word to your poster. If you wish for it to stand out more, add a colored rectangle to the bottom portion of your photo. To do this, navigate to Graphics in the menu on the left, then select the rectangle underneath Basic Shapes.

Basic Shapes Shepard Fairey

From the Rectangle Properties panel, click the square next to Fill. Then, use the Eye Dropper Tool to select the navy blue color already present in your photo. Finally, use your cursor to drag the corners of the rectangle and resize it as you see fit.

Fill Color Shepard Fairey

Step 15: Add Text

Next, navigate to Text in the menu on the left, then click Add Text. Double-click the text box and type your desired word, whether it be "Hope," "Dream," or anything else.

Add Text Shepard Fairey

Step 16: Adjust the Text Properties

From the Text Properties panel, choose Franklin Gothic as your font. This is the font used in the original poster. Additionally, you can use the Eye Dropper Tool to select the light blue hue already present in your image, to further aid Shepard Fairey’s original street art-inspired design.

Monitor, Display, Screen, Electronics, Text, Person

Step 17: Add a Border

The finishing touch on our poster is to add a border that’s identical to the original design. Click on Frames in the menu on the left, then select Border.

Add Border Shepard Fairey

Change the outer color to transparent, the inner color to cream (#FCE4A8), and adjust the Inner Thickness slider until you are happy with its size. Then, apply your changes.

Adjust Border Color Shepard Fairey

Step 18: Save Your Finished Poster

Last but not least, it’s time to save your poster so it’s ready to share with the world (or you know, your friends and family). Click Save at the top of the screen, then select your desired save location and format.

Before and After Shepard Fairey

Share Some Hope

There you have it! Now that you know how to use BeFunky’s Photo Editor as an Obama Hope Poster generator, there’s no limit to your creativity! Why not surprise your loved ones by creating additional posters featuring their own face? There is plenty of fun to be had! 

Photo Editing, Simplified.

Photo Editing. Simplified