The original is the best. Right?

Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Art, Design, Film, Illustration, Work | 2 Comments

A couple of weeks ago I came across the Daybees online exhibition of movie posters that never were. It interested me greatly from a design point of view, and also because at the time I had the good fortune of designing two posters myself for a couple of excellent short films.

With regards to the Daybees exhibition, it could be argued that graphically the originals are better, but do they communicate the film as well? It’s difficult when we know the films and their final posters so well (Pulp Fiction adorned the walls of my bedroom as a teenager). It must also be frustrating for the designers who have so many creatives and countless other approval committees as well other studio politics involved in their creation. In an interview with The Guardian, I thought Bill Gold was admirable in his response of “each to their own” when speaking of bosses who turned down some of his favourite ideas. A lesson to anyone who’s ever dealt with ‘challenging’ clients.

Designers look to deliver a message simply and effectively, but how do you sum up an entire film with potentially just one iconic image? Reimagining classic movie posters has been a trend for some time and while some of the results are stunning, well executed and clever, I do wonder if they actually make known the film’s style and plot to a newcomer. Also, how would they stand up to the gruelling approval process?

This played on my mind as I designed my posters, what had started as already interesting projects suddenly took on a new level. As a designer I wanted the end result to be as beautiful and concise as it could be, but I was also conscious that it needed to convey the thoughts of the director and represent the film in a true form. Obviously I had watched the films numerous times before designing, but would my interpretation be the same as the directors, writers and producers? I tried to see what they hoped to communicate in the films and best replicate this through the posters, both challenging and enjoyable. Below I’ve included the original options as well as further revisions before the final version to show the process. Hope you enjoy, which would you have selected?

Fergus film posters

Fergus film posters

Fergus film posters

Fergus film posters

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