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on making film posters_062621

Caspar wrote this piece upon request for the independent, full-service, film, photography and animation production company, Ecstatic Static. The essay now resides in their website’s Resources section alongside an extraordinary array of other materials. This text represents to date everything he’s come to learn about making film posters within the world of independent cinema. He hopes it’s of use to some of you out there.


Filmmakers: in the 10 years or so that I’ve been making posters for films I’ve come to understand two important things. The first is that whilst I wasn’t very good at it when I started, many filmmakers were nevertheless happy to pay for my bad work and use it to represent their films. The second is that there really is a very comprehensive ideology to making the proverbial “good film poster,” and that if you adhere to it even loosely you’ll have on your hands not just a poster that talks seductively about your film, but also a beautiful piece of print work in its own right. Please don’t misunderstand: there is no precise formula for making a good poster, just as there’s no formula for writing a good song. My father the painter and drawing teacher, Thomas Newbolt, teaches his students not to draw better but to see better, so that whatever their natural technique they can draw better with it. In this same fashion my aim here is to introduce you to ideas that perhaps will improve how you see your film through the eyes of the mise-en-scène on paper that is the film poster.

Despite what you might assume filmmakers are often not particularly visual people, and likewise I can tell you that graphic designers are often not particularly poetic. In fact it concerns me a little when someone asks me to “design” a poster because aside from some text-based information, the best film posters have very little conventional graphic design thinking to them at all. In fact it’s in thinking more like a painter that I believe film postermakers are more successful. Similarly it concerns me when a filmmaker knows how to, let’s say, “gather scene information” with their camera, but yet is unable to make a beautiful film. Today’s technology enables anyone to film someone walking down a corridor, opening a door with a key, going through the door it and closing it. Yet not everyone will have the eyes for framing, movement, lighting, tone, performance, sound or editing to make anything about witnessing this event observant, meaningful or remarkable in its point of view. In the same way, many people have a copy of Adobe Photoshop and consequently many film posters feel similarly limited by what that software can do.

The filmmaker Robert Bresson when speaking on the subject of film editing stated that “an image must be transformed by contact with other images as is a colour by contact with other colours. A blue is not the same blue beside a green, a yellow, a red. No art without transformation.” Thus I’m aware that for filmmakers it is in part this transforming of an image through the cut that a deeper poetry in this medium can be developed. The good film poster also exists in that cut between any two pieces of footage. It is a single image often created using complimentary elements from the print world vernacular. Each element pieced together to articulate a visual counterpoint to the film rather than rely upon any actual still image in the film. If filmmakers cannot be open to their film being articulated in this way and / or if graphic designers don’t have the poetic sensibility to depict it, then the collaboration can lead to some bad work.

I say this because to make a good film poster one should aim to achieve the following:

  1. Reduce a film — which can be some 172,800 still images more or less — to one single image that speaks to the whole. Therefore one must often aim to be even more poetic than the film itself was able to be.
  2. Make that one single image work on paper — often in portrait format, when films are largely shot in landscape format — and in a fashion that speaks to people walking quickly by, across the street, and often with other things on their mind.
    I stress the word “paper” here because things that look good on screen do not always look good on paper. Furthermore things that do look good on paper and therefore make for the most beautiful posters, are often the simplest and flattest things. Those can be lines, shapes, drawn or painted marks, cut out or torn pieces and typefaces that make you as aware of the paper itself as possible. When filmmakers get excited about shooting on film, so postermakers should be excited about printing on paper. As the script is to the film, so the composition on screen is to the printed poster. A success in this understanding and practice leads to something the Germans have a word for: plakativ. The word translates as “striking, bold, pithy” and yet, stems from their word for “poster,” plakat. Thus the implication of the word is that poster-like work is something we should strive for.
  3. Understand that the poster exists within a context. The poster is for a wall on the street or in a house or in a cinema. It’s not just for digital usage such as social media. Let’s not be confused: you’re not making digital banner ads for a website — which is all a poster is if it’s never printed on paper — you’re making an object that someone should not just want on their wall for the duration of the film’s release like some advertising billboard. You’re making something that people may want on their wall, at home, very large, perhaps even framed, for the rest of their lives. Think about that. Think about the poster sitting next to a painting, and a window, and a vase of flowers, and in the morning light — as a part of a complete interior experience, and so on. The moment you start to really think about context in this way you’ll start noticing, commissioning and / or and making better posters.

Now, let’s say that you’ve made a film and you’ve just gotten into a festival. Or better yet, you’ve sold your film and now its on its way to cinemas nationally or internationally. Either way you’ve got some “successful” marketing and distribution people breathing down your neck about needing a poster. They’ve told you how they know how to make a poster that will get people to see your film, and how their in-house designers — under close guidance — will make just such a poster for you. Perhaps you’ve even signed a contract with them that gives them final say in how the poster looks, and now somehow the early drafts of what you’re seeing are just nothing like you’d hoped or imagined a poster for your first film would be. You then find yourself sitting there with a week to go before the poster has to be done, and you and your film might well be misunderstood and neglected.

The above paragraph is deliberately emotionally manipulative but it is also based on truth. This is often exactly what happens and whilst some filmmakers don’t even notice it happening, here are some things to consider when you’re ready to have a film poster made:


FIND A GOOD POSTERMAKER
You probably have a good idea already which film posters you like and maybe even who made those posters. However sometimes it’s not a professional poster maker you’re after. It may well be someone who has never made one before who will give you the freshest and most powerful poster to herald your film. Hell it may even be you, the filmmaker, who should make the poster. Either way try to find someone who isn’t all about style and technique, who has the breadth of imagination and skill to create something that speaks as directly as possible to the film. The actor and director Brady Corbet once said he preferred — when considering to act in a film — to talk to the filmmaker directly than to read any script; he knew it was the filmmaker’s attitude that would convince him the project was worthwhile rather than any skill at writing. I say this because if you just want some recognisable artist or designer to slather your poster in their clever signature style, then you’re just selling their work and not talking about your film. This would be akin to paying a critic for a good review. What you’re really looking for is someone who deeply understands your film and can articulate that understanding on paper.


HAVE AN IDEA
Much like a film, every poster should have an idea or reason behind the execution of its visual approach. There are no exceptions. A poster with an idea behind it is a clear reaction to an action. This is to understand that humans by their very existence are a series of reactions to actions, and thus will immediately notice the nature of origin stories like their own.To sense a poster is behaving visually strangely for a reason is to sense an interpretation, in the hands of the postermaker, a reaction to an action by the filmmaker. This creates a tension, a curiosity, questions without answers, and ultimately engenders the desire to see the film. It is better if the poster is trying to be original, otherwise you will get your film confused with other films. This, despite what your marketing people might tell you, is not a good thing.


MAKE YOUR OWN RULES
Just as film doesn’t necessarily need a plot or a three-act structure, so there are no general rules for film poster design and therefore no particular way a film poster should be made or should look. The only rules are those that the filmmaker and the postermaker devised as a way of best articulating “the idea” mentioned above. This means you should have absolutely anything you want on the poster, be that a photograph, a painting, a drawing, a collage, a smear of your own blood, a blank canvas, a Jackson Pollock drip painting with type, if it be your will.

Speaking of type: this is where graphic design thinking in the strictest sense most often prevails, but we must accept that type is also ultimately a part of the image. Anything on the poster is the image, whether letters are legible or not. As the graphic designer David Carson once said, “don’t mistake legibility for communication … you cannot not communicate.” This means that what you are trying to say with the poster will define the nature of the typographic treatment. In the case of typography this implies that you can make the words on the poster as big or as small or as legible as you like. Whatever feeds the agreed idea and helps articulate it more powerfully and clearly is key. For example: very small type draws you in closer and makes the rest of the image feel very big and grand in contrast. Similarly very large type can trivialise the rest of the image and remove the stature you might otherwise believe it had. Whatever you choose to do, when you do make your own rules, you must stick to them. Part of noticing a good poster is the subconscious awareness that it’s abiding by a series of self-imposed rules and that the tension created by those rules is clear.


BECOME THE FILM
No two posters should look the same. Insisting that they do is saying that your film is the same as another film. Referencing other, older film poster designs only may make those who get the reference wish they had the original poster on their wall. Despite what your sales, marketing and distribution people might say, the only reason the poster style they’re suggesting you try “worked in the past for this kind of film,” is because once upon a time that style was original, unique to a previous film and had never been tried before either. Just like the film you are making a poster for, the best ideas for film posters come from everywhere but the world of film. Start sourcing images and ideas from your own life, literature, painting, sculpture, street art, magazines, fashion photography, corporate logo design, typographic journals, war propaganda, cave paintings, political pamphlets, household product packaging; literally anywhere but the world of film and its posters. Remember you are not talking about film posters as a culture when you make a film poster, you’re talking about a film. So become the film, embrace what is unique and original about it, and don’t just become another in a long line of film posters dressed in a recognizable uniform of a pre-established school of thought.

One way of thinking about this that might help is to imagine you’re making a poster that would itself hang comfortably on the wall in one of the scenes in the film that you’re making the poster for. Try this as a thought experiment when starting to put together ideas for your poster. Whilst it’s not imperative that this line of thinking be followed — far from it in fact — you will find it yields some interesting results.


GET AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER
Where and when possible move your process of postermaking into the physical world. Even if that’s as simple as printing your work out and scanning it back in, it makes a difference. The introduction of any analog element into the design process will give your work a life that is inherently unique to you. People say that one of the reasons vinyl records remain so popular after all this time is the “user experience” they offer; the large reproduction of the artwork, the interaction with a layered physical object, the cleaning of the musical surface, the positioning of the needle, and (if your hand is shaking) the unique sounds that can be made in the process of listening to it. The same thing applies to good postermaking; the less time you spend trapped inside the confines of popular computer graphics software and instead are allowing the shake of your own hands to place elements onto the poster — be that photography, collage, drawing, painting, scanning or whatever — the more mysterious, imperfect and beautiful your work will be. Again, humans like to feel that extra work has been done and that mistakes have been made; reactions to actions.


PROVIDE TWO POSTERS (IF NECESSARY)
The filmmaker David Fincher once said that there are two ways to shoot a scene: the right way and the wrong way. Similarly any postermaker worth their salt may make a series of different versions of their poster as they explore how to deliver the agreed concept in the most powerful and beautiful way. It is not however then the postermaker’s responsibility to show anyone those different versions unless they want to. This is where — assuming you’ve chosen the right person for the job — the postermaker’s most important and unique talent comes in; they choose the poster that clearly does the best and most beautiful job, and hand that and only that to the filmmaker. Anyone who believes it’s the director or anyone else’s job to choose from an array of versions created by the postermaker for the sake of their being “options” doesn’t understand or respect the eyes, skillset or experience of the person making the poster. Again if you’ve found the right postermaker and they truly understand your film, then you can trust them to make this decision implicitly. It’s in giving the postermaker agency that you encourage them to produce their very best work.

Celebrated graphic artists Hans Hillmann, Peter Saville and David Carson — to name but a few — all famously produced their best work when they rarely had to answer to anyone. Hans Hillmann worked during a time in Germany when very few people had the means to create film posters, and so he’d be sent the film and simply send a poster back when he had one that he liked. Peter Saville had a similar relationship with Factory Records in England: on at least one occasion New Order only saw the artwork for their latest LP after it had been released into record stores. David Carson’s now infamous, groundbreaking work on Raygun magazine was only possible because he sent the design files directly to the printer, without the editors and writers having a say in how he’d laid out the content.

Having the proverbial good film poster on your hands, what often happens next is that your marketing people tell you your poster has type that’s “too small to read on a phone,” or something to that effect. This can quickly become a dealbreaker to these people no matter the strength of your arguments, and it’s at this moment that you and your postermaker take a deep breath and take 5 minutes to make an additional, ephemeral poster-shaped social-media-banner with huge lettering and hand that over too. You may be surprised at how often this method works. Then you can get back to helping make the object that one day will be framed on your wall and represent your feelings about the cinematic artwork you’ve given years of your life to making. Everyone’s happy.

I had an argument recently via email with a Swedish graphic designer who told me he thought film posters were commercial advertisements and nothing more. In not so many words he told me that I was wasting everyone’s time by thinking about film posters as anything remotely artistic. Whilst I hope my own work has gone some way in proving this man wrong, I shall lean on the words of Peter Saville here to brush aside this line of thinking so that we can continue to strive to create increasingly poetic film posters:

“It’s during the current era that in a way the cultural canon has become entirely appropriated for the purposes of commercial practice. And that’s where there’s — in a way — a disconnect. And it then begins to become rather upsetting when you begin to realize that we are now selling out the culture for the purposes of marketing. And that’s the thing which I’ve not wanted to really partake in. And that’s something which I find is — I mean just below the surface — a kind of wave of disillusion across the creative profession. So when you are fighting the marketing men saying look there is a better way of doing this, it kinda felt worthwhile. But when the marketing people sit there and say, ‘how do we seduce? And, you know, how do we position? How… Effectively how do we make our product or service or company look as if it believes in something, when actually it doesn’t?’ That’s the problem.”

I’ve deliberately not included any specific examples or technical instructions in this text, because again I’m simply hoping to urge you to try and change the way you see a film poster, and the way you see your film through the eyes of that poster. That’s the first step towards making a beautiful one of your own. I hope that by keeping my direction elliptical that I have left open that important space between your head and, what filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky called “the ceiling of the director’s so-called thought.” Tarkovsky was troubled that audiences seemed to prefer knocking their head against this ceiling; they preferred being told what to think or feel about a film. He said, “such knocks … make them feel safe: not only is it ‘exciting’ but the idea is clear and there’s no need to strain the brain or the eye, there’s no need to see anything specific in what is happening. And on that sort of diet the audience starts to degenerate.” So don’t let me degenerate you. In helping you understand that no two posters should be alike, that there are no general rules to a poster’s form and function, and that a film poster must be perhaps even more poetic than a film, I trust you will find a keener eye for film posters, for those who make them and for what your film truly deserves.

Caspar Newbolt
Berlin / New York 
May 3rd — 9th, 2021

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ray gun magazine, the ARG
& advertising at large_050909


i came across this cover the other day (designed by chris ashworth) and like a splash of cold water across the face, was reminded just why i believe that ray gun magazine was far?and?away the best print magazine. this is not a very popular belief mind you, even among its fans. many designers and publishers have noted that its aggressive visual style often made it harder to read,?and?consequently of limited interest. however as one ?joe clark notices, it seems that few of these critics when pushed can deny just how “[ray gun] is strikingly fresh even now,” and frankly, there really aren’t many magazines on the shelves today that that can still be said about. avant garde? THE FACE? sadly, they’re dead too.

the first issue of ray gun i saw, i bought. it had a picture of?trent reznor on the cover. aside from the bar-code there weren’t many words on the cover; the name?and?tagline at the top?and?the word ninechnails at the bottom:

raygun #43

if you’ve heard of the band (or possibly even if not), you’ll notice not just the obligatory backwards n here and there, but also the removal of the letters i + n from ‘inch’.

why? my assumption there?and?then when i bought it was that that’s how you say nine inch nails, if you say it at the pace you would in regular conversation. you know, as a fan, for the umpteenth time.

say it now.

see, you don’t actually pronounce the ‘in’. i’ve never had this confirmed by anyone, but i know it to be true because i know how much the guy who designed that cover would understand a?nine inch nails fan?and?not just a fan of the magazine.

now take another look at the image i opened this article with. of course if you’re a fan of radiohead then you either recognized them from the photograph or swiftly interpreted the typographic code in the magazine title hinted at by the different fonts used.

so, where am i going with all this? well one thing you get to to do a lot of as a designer, whilst sitting at your desk putting together layouts and listening to music, is think. finding this radiohead cover got me thinking about ray gun magazine again and just what it was about it that excited me about it and made it feel so relevant to me even now. so the following is an attempt to explain what i see as an interesting correlation between the mentality behind a production such as ray gun and the nature of advertising and, consequently, big business. why advertising in particular? well if there’s one thing that’s becoming an ever more suffocating and all the more life-threatening to the life of a designer these days, it’s advertising. no really, it’s true. even joy division and new order record designer, peter saville, agrees with me. advertising is arguably the ‘sword of damocles’ hanging over the heads of any designers worth their salt today. so the following are my collected thoughts on the matter, as a designer in 2009 wondering when we’ll ever get back to just making beautiful things for those with truthful and honest intentions.

here goes –

the key thing here that ray gun magazine highlighted?and?the thing i have mourned the loss of since its death, is the concept of communicating directly and?almost subconsciously with your audience. what the creators of?ray gun understood was that if you want to really communicate with people, then you have to think like them. yes i know, you’re thinking ‘well, that’s obvious’. however, i don’t mean ‘think like them’ in the don draper sense of the phrase. you see?ray gun was the only magazine of its kind to completely redesign its entire look and feel with every issue, and every article article in that issue. why? because it wanted to really speak to its readers. it wanted to make the fan of that particular band, musician, film or writer to feel more at home on that page (that they’d just hurriedly skipped to), than on any other page. no, let’s take this one further. ray gun wanted to make them feel even more at home in their own home town, than they’d felt all month waiting for the issue to hit the shelves. such was,?and?still is, one of the key qualities of good art (assuming for a second we can suggest?ray gun presented the reader with art) – be that the art its articles were about or the art that the articles imbued as they bent their own will to the content they were delivering.

you see communicating an idea with words is one thing. but when you realize words are made up of letters?and?that letters are just symbols or images, you realize you’re talking about a series of pictures all lined up. a series of pictures that define with increasing accuracy (as you read a sentence or paragraph) a larger more abstract image in your mind. now take those words and start changing the definition of them. by this i mean change the font, start removing letters or changing the structure of how they’re laid out, whilst all the time keeping it intuitive so that everything you do is based around what the words are saying … just like ray gun did …?and already you’ve started to alter the way you’re communicating with the person reading, especially if they have a predisposed interest in the content.

what you’re doing is making them have an original, thought provoking and even difficult time deciphering the information, but in doing so you’re creating an experience that they will potentially remember more vividly, especially if they are a more visual person. it’s the same as the way you might use a coloured pen to highlight text from a book so that you can later remember that phrase in an exam; just by thinking of the page, the colour?and?the text inside it. likewise the way a dog might learn from something by being scolded, but unlike the migraine inducing repetition of say today’s advertising techniques, this is a personal moment of conflict where you actually care for the struggle.

in a similar fashion to ray gun, i’ve often wondered why i’ve always been drawn towards designing an entirely different website, print piece or video every time i start on a new project. it’s not just about trying to make my portfolio look diverse?and?it’s not just about making our daily routine more interesting or challenging. i think it’s also about a subconscious understanding that in no way is it even logical to re-use a style from one project to the next. no two people are the same, no two companies want to be the same?and?you’d never find anything if everything looked the same.

now you might argue here that yes of course you agree, but that surely every project or client within the confines of their own business must conform to a consistent set of styles?and?values in order to maintain a solid sense of identity, organization?and?reliability.

i would definitely agree with this, but it’s an equation that quickly imbalances and this brings us closer to the core of the problem – big business. big business fundamentally relies on the idea of constant growth, but as we know from our very nature, nothing can keep growing forever. we don’t have it in us mentally or physically. so it shouldn’t surprise us that larger businesses start to build up seemingly impossible overheads through inflating staff salaries, flailing expense accounts and increasing office rents. as if grotesquely obese, they start to focus vainly on their own ‘figure’ over the ‘figures’ of the others that got them this fat. in doing so they realize they must make a certain amount of money to stay alive. an amount that goes beyond the value of what they ever had to offer, even in their heyday. this in turn has them fighting to remain approachable, safe, dependable and reliable. much more so in fact than they ever needed to be before. their advertising budgets then grow as they fight to appear more relevant. unable to rely on their own bloated staff for the necessary fresh ideas, they start mining young minds for that extra ‘juice’, via focus groups and the like. this reliance on investment over their own ability to generate exciting concepts, forces them to take less risks.?consequently they slowly start to shift down gears and end up producing considerably less interesting or worthwhile products.

shitty, right?

sadly it’s hard to see this fate being avoided by anyone, with the way things work now. hell, ray gun certainly died that way. obviously i don’t know for sure, but my guess is that it started to lose readers and eventually died because, as suggested above, convention always wins out?and?anything you can’t define, pigeon-hole and brand loses its way fast in this world.

i bought a much later issue of ray gun the other day (#74)?and?was stunned at how much it had fallen from grace in its final stages. the type was horrid, the photography dull, the layouts unimaginative and the design was pretty much uniform throughout. my guess is that it had to go that way due to publishers worrying about dwindling sales. however in doing so they probably then lost the core fan-base too, who’d learnt to speak ‘fluent ray gun‘?and?could not cope with such unremarkable mediocrity operating under that once great name. i certainly can’t show #74 to friends and illustrate what a paragon of creativity it is, like i can with my beloved #43.

so what’s the solution? how can you prevent this? we can’t all run our own lean & adaptable companies with our heads down, working weekends and somehow managing to scrape by each month. most people just want a job. they don’t want the precarious task of running something themselves?and?never knowing if next month’s pay cheque will amount to anything.

well maybe we can’t prevent it, but keeping our fingers on the pulse may just keep us around a little longer. take the ARG (alternative reality game) for example. it’s a sophisticated?and?quite successful method of promoting a product that’s evolved through the ubiquitous nature of the internet and the desire for a radical change in standard advertising practices. its apparent failing is that it predominantly caters to niche markets, but my gut feeling is that, much like ray gun, it should not be overlooked. it would appear, at least to me, to show signs of a possible way out of this mess.

to wit, ARGs are completely and utterly designed around the mindset of the people choosing to get involved with them. so much so that you can’t summarize the rules of each game, you can’t list the techniques involved in building them and you can’t specify the ‘reward’ or ‘goal’ other than that of simply giving those involved an evolving and expanding reminder of what it is they already love so much …

… and here we are now, having come full circle.

you see it’s this lack of uniformity that is what?ray gun was also about. whilst advertising execs would i’m sure consider ARGs a part of the ‘guerilla marketing’ movement (which i assume is a reference to wars like vietnam where the traditional mindset failed so tragically), what i fear they are missing is that fact that it’s all based purely on intuition. intuition in the sense that it’s more of an art than some business technique. you see you can’t quantify it so therefore you can’t monetize it. the old corporate guard can’t rely on it either, because the bulk of the work must be done by the people who’s work you’re promoting for it to succeed – so your larger companies with a select arsenal of ad directors are in trouble. simply put, it’s?incompatible?with the old system because it’s an?allergic?reaction to that very system. a trapdoor in the floor upon which the entire corporate advertising infrastructure has been built.

for example, it was in fact trent reznor that recently made huge strides through the ruins of the major labels and the burnt-out music industry at large, when he quit his record label?and?constructed his own ways of selling his music centered around giving the fans exactly what they wanted in a fashion that simply only he could have known how. this only possible because not only has he has managed to stay very in tune with his fans interests over the years, but also with the way people choose to consume music in today’s day and age. the end result being that he does not insult people’s intelligence when he sells his music – in fact he makes them feel like they are a part of something very exciting, futuristic and unpredictable.

you see, as far as i can tell, this is the reason why people won’t stand for advertising and will eventually grow sick of heavy marketing campaigns – the kind that always, without fail, hype a product or experience beyond that which its capable of. i simply don’t even watch television any more?and?i know i’m not alone in that gesture. we’re all very tired of being told what to think?and?buy by people who don’t know us, don’t care for us?and?have absolutely no interest in anything more than taking our money. the methods advertisers use these days for undermining your better judgment is enough to upset anyone mentally worth their salt:

so where does this all lead us? will people take heed from these examples and evolve their methods to create a more honest, sincere and attentive market place? well let’s hope so. the fact that there is not a single magazine still on the shelf today that even comes close the design approach ray gun took, isn’t a great sign. however as michael beirut noted about ‘ray gun culture’ in his book looking closer:

“what’s striking about this ambiguous [design] trend is the fact that it has become a coded language for an entire generation. illegible typefaces are the graffiti of cyberspace.”

it certainly reinforces the feeling that we’re on the brink of reaching a new level of understanding here. especially when the internet (arguably the most user-defined place in the world) is now rapidly developing its own vernacular, ARGs have grown like a mould across the carcasses of dated worldwide advertising infrastructures and magazines, like ray gun, seem to sit there in your cupboards saying, “i told you so”.

so i say: pull out your old issues of?ray gun and really get stuck into those ‘hard to read’ articles about those bands you are ashamed to admit you like now. you might just feel like the world of the media isn’t such a condescending and cold place afterall?or, as david carson put it:

“If you think it?s hard to read or too weird, you?re probably not the audience, and that?s fine.”

ultimately if we are to put up with products needing promotion and a competative market place requiring aggressive forms of advertising, then let’s take some responsbility. let’s think about who we are trying to sell to and just what would really make their day more complete. even if that means telling them the truth, flattering their intelligence, respecting their space and giving them a world without adverts plastered over every conceivable surface, be that physical, aural or virtual.

a good (and ironic) analogy here would be this old ‘army recruitment’ television advertisement that i’ve never forgotten. it depicts soldiers abroad during an encounter with natives who are behaving increasingly dangerously with every passing second. the commanding officer then realizes that removing his mirrored sunglasses so that they can see his eyes as he talks to them, might help. this consequently soothes the situation somewhat and a more cordial exchange presents itself.

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commercialism and design_030108

peter saville

it’s hard not to feel?underwhelmed with the state of the design industry today. one avenue i personally had always relied upon was designing artwork for bands. however now the music industry can barely afford to pay for the great designs they need to present their artist’s work, we are all having to find work elsewhere to make ends meet. this, along with other elements, is adding to the larger realization that now more and more of the market is being eaten up by corporations forcing designers to use their art to sell incompatible, emotionless products.

if you have a moment, i highly recommend registering to the (albeit commercially founded) ‘i love design’ site and watching this short interview with peter saville. i have been feeling a great weight on my conscience recently and after watching this i felt it all lift a little as one man defined the issue so succinctly. i hope many can take a lesson from this and things will change. thanks, peter.

http://www.ilovedesign.com/us/exclusives/interviews/peter-saville-design

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