Designing A Series Of Ridley Scott Posters

Today I thought I would share one of the more recent design projects that I’ve worked on. For this particular project I created a series of posters advertising films directed by Ridley Scott. I’ve written a number of these design posts in the past but haven’t shared anything that I’ve done over the last three years. It’s a little strange looking back on this specific project, out of everything I’ve done recently this is what I’m most proud of. But also I see a number of things which could have been done better.

image shows messy workspace with sketchbook and headphones

DESIGNING A SERIES OF RIDLEY SCOTT POSTERS

RESEARCH

This project was originally a D&AD brief so if you want to see some really good outcomes check this page out. This specific brief was all about creating typographic film posters. You had to choose one famous director and create a series of three posters based around their movies.

The process of actually choosing a director was interesting. I had originally wanted to pick Jim Henson because he directed Labyrinth, but I found out he has only directed two movies. I ended up choosing Ridley Scott because he is known for sci-fi films and has a very distinct style in his films.

sketchbook page with quote from blade runner film

So I chose three movies, Blade Runner, Prometheus and The Martian. I think this was maybe where I went a little wrong. I didn’t enjoy Blade Runner, and that showed in the final poster because I don’t think it got across the ‘jist’ of the film as well compared to the others.

DEVELOPMENT

This is also the point where I can see the most improvement in my work compared to when I started college. Just now concepts are a big thing. You have to have a strong concept before moving forward with a project. Now I don’t entirely understand what a concept is, not to the point where I really understand it. But looking back at this project and the ‘concepts’ I came up with I do understand what I have to do.

I thought I would need to create multiple ‘concepts’ for each poster. In reality, the concept was the thing which tied all three posters together. So they have the same idea and most importantly look similar.

experimenting with making images using the camera

Despite getting this important stage quite wrong I still ended up with a visual style that worked (in my opinion) and linked the three posters together quite well. The inspiration for this style actually came from the new Stephen Baxter book covers. These covers are quite simple and have a very striking gradient on them. In fact, the reason I bought those books in the first place was the bright covers.

So I had this idea for gradients and I knew I wanted to use lots of sans serif typefaces. It quite simple to see that sans serif typefaces are popular in modern sci-fi movies. It gives the idea of something from the future.

IMPLEMENT

Then I had to create the three posters. My idea for The Martian was to create type which looked like it had been distorted by distance. For this, I scanned type and moved the paper as I scanned it. This gave the idea that the type was moving. Doing it this way in the scanner was also much easier than trying to draw it straight in Illustrator.

poster design for the martian by ridley scott

For Prometheus, I chose a quote from the end of the film. I wanted to give the idea of this message being sent out for anyone to hear. So we have type which is made up of multiple semi-transparent layers. This type has also been distorted so it angles upwards. Then I created a splatter effect using paint to add more interest. Because of the nature of this movie, you could imagine it as blood, but I kept it a green colour so that wasn’t immediately obvious.

For Blade Runner, I wanted to create something similar visually to circuit boards. Because the story is all about AI and technology. I created the layout first using cut paper, then edited my type, making some parts longer so it almost looked like a part of the circuit board. I’m still happy with this poster but it could definitely have been better.

COLLECTABLE TICKETS

Another part of the brief was to create an item which you would feasibly expect to see at a film festival. This could be something like an advertising campaign or other physical items. Because the film festival was celebrating Ridley Scott I decided to do a series of collectable tickets. Cinema tickets are usually quite boring. But I collect the ticket stubs from all the theatre shows I go to see. I thought I could apply this idea to the cinema ticket. Make it something the viewer would want to keep. It would be functional but also a souvenir as well.

design for envelope shown on computer screen

Designing the ticket was quite easy. I just used the same visuals I had designed for the three film posters. But the typography was quite important for the ticket. I must have got this right because I was told it was the sort of thing you could expect to get through the mail. The ticket even came with its own wallet. This wallet could be used to store the tickets and had more information about the film festival. Things like how to get there and social media links.

FINALLY

I really enjoyed working on this project. It was quite daunting at the beginning. It was a lot of work to do in just a few weeks. But overall I really liked the final outcome. Choosing a film director like Ridley Scott, who has quite a defined style helped. I could almost continue the theme and design posters for more of his films. Though I have to admit I wasn’t entirely happy with the Blade Runner poster. But then again I didn’t like the film.

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