Vector art and the talented artists who create it

RasTa at the ROM – Vectorvault

Black History Month at the Royal Ontario Museum, kicks off in Toronto with RasTa at the ROM.
Featuring the documentary RasTa: A Soul’s Journey. The journey of Rita and Bob Marley‘s Granddaughter Donisha Prendergast, searching the world for the roots of Rastafari.
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Come and celebrate African & Caribbean Cultural Heritage Day with the whole family. Check out the exclusive discount coupon code at the bottom of this post. Don’t miss this historic occasion!

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Donisha Prendergast, Granddaughter of Rita and Bob Marley

Ancient Design Principals Matched With Modern Technique

This is the premier design project for Vectorvault. And what an assignment to be awarded. Every step of the way has been an education and an opportunity to apply the design principals of Vectorvault across several mediums.

Mathematics are at the heart of ancient African culture. Geometry and measurement play a role in architecture as well as the art of that period. Vector art is also based on math. The synergies between ancient and modern techniques allowed this project to flourish. Even with a small dedicated team, and tight timelines, it was the foundation of vector art that allowed this project to be launched on time and on budget…

Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada

Vectorvault at the ROM

Working with the Royal Ontario Museum was a career highlight. Growing up in Toronto, I have visited the Museum on class trips and with my parents on several occasions. Anyone who is familiar with the ROM knows that it is a world class institution with some of the most incredible antiquities in the world. Including the “Crystal” architectural addition that must be seen.

During the original briefing for this project, it was the building itself that served as the inspiration for the design. Surrounded by dinosaurs and priceless antiquities, engaging in conversations about anthropology, history, design and art. At the end of the day, my mind was on fire with ideas.

As a parent myself, It’s such a great feeling to take my own children there to see Vectorvault designs on display. I’m very proud of the work we have done, and in many ways it has changed the way that I approach design in general.

Vectorvault is a design philosophy. One built upon the belief that vector art, when used properly can save time and money. RasTa at the ROM put that philosophy to the test. The most satisfying outcome of this project was proving to myself that it works. Not in hypothetical terms. But in practice.

Errol Blackwood and Donisha Prendergast

Attaching image to the message

This is a branding exercise unlike any other. Most certainly because this is not a brand at all. It’s an ideology. And when you are dealing with subject matter like that, you have to ensure that you are not only respectful of how it’s presented, but you also have to set aside your own methods and be true to the essence of the subject matter. This is harder than it sounds.

The symbolism presented for this exhibit was influenced and inspired by Rastafarian culture. Numerology and astrology also played their roles. What made the process easier for me was pairing me with Tyson Brown M.A., a Rastafarian historian and author of Abba Keddus Rastafari and the Return of our Sacred Origins. He kept it in line with RasTa design principles and served as the aesthetic compass for everything.

Tyson wrote the copy for all of the signage and the 40 page booklet that accompanied the exhibit. His knowledge of history and his passion for the Rastafari movement gave the design for this event credibility and inspired it’s development. It was a true collaboration.

Museum signage

Part of the experience for a world-class museum exhibit like this one, is to surround attendees with essence of subject. That was achieved through a wide variety of signage.

Monolith Signage
4 versions (10′ Panels)

Displayed in key areas of the museum, visitors were greeted with striking images of Emperor Haile Selassie I, Bob Marley, Donisha Prendergast and the Documentary Imagery.

Trumpet Signage
13 versions (15″ x 13″ each)
showcased in metal stands.

Matched with biographies and facts related to Canadian connections to each. These displays served to create a foundation for those new to the subject. It was nice to see the conversations orbiting them.

40 Page Commemorative Booklet

The most challenging aspect of this project was capturing all of the content into a booklet that would also serve as the event’s keepsake. It slowly grew over time, and was populated with stunning photographs and inspiring text.

Once again, Tyson Brown threaded the story of Rastafari throughout. Carleen Robinson and Patricia Scarlett were also right over my shoulder (literally) making certain that everything flowed well. A great team experience.

Like many others, I have always been a fan of Bob Marley the musician. This design project has opened up the aperture for me on the man.

His impact on the world and his effect on millions of people is celebrated here. I now see him as a galvanizing figure with an important place in history.

I also found myself very drawn to the life of Emperor Haile Selassie I. He served as the foundation for this religion and set a path for other fascinating individuals like Marcus Garvey and Leonard P Howell to follow.

On the RasTa website, we included a section called Rastapedia which is serving as an ongoing directory of these biographies. Over time, we hope it grows into a robust resource for those seeking to learn more about the roots of Rastafari.

Documentary Poster

The first phase of this project was to brand the film RasTa: A Soul’s Journey. It started with an emblem and moved on to a film poster that has served as the main imagery for the film.

Last Summer, during the Toronto International Film Festival, I presented this poster during the premier to a room filled with Rastafarian Royalty. To my delight, it was received with unanimous approval. That meant a great deal.

As RasTa: A Soul’s Journey continues it’s journey to New York this month and then off to London and Tokyo, Vectorvault’s design travels with it.

Please take a moment to explore the website and learn more about this film and where you can view it in your own city.

Adam Jarvis is the Creative Director for Vectorvault and the designer responsible for RasTa.


A special thank you to Patricia Scarlett of Scarlett Media, Tyson Brown, Donisha Prendergast and Martha Henderson, Cheryl Nichols and Julian Siggers of the Royal Ontario Museum.

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Visit the ROM website and use the
Promo code: RASTA (ALL CAPS) to get a 20% discount off admission:

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