Reborio: The Complete Response

The first artist I chose to respond to was Cuban revolutionist designer; Reborio, and here is the final outcome of my experimentations, inspired by his work.

My main influence came from his poster for Moby Dick (1967), in which a focal image for the film- a whales tale- is placed infront of a psychedellic sunburst background, and filled with text. You can see the similarities in my work as I placed a focal image for my film concept- the gun- in the center of the composition, infront of a bright, sunburst background. I used a simple black outline and white fill to create the gun image, then filled it with colourful type, which is manipulated in size and angle to enhance the psychedellia. Looking through some of Reborio's other works I took elements from them to apply to my own. I used stripes in the background, a green border, and a pop art colour scheme.


Reynold Brown Response: Initial Design

The majority of Brown's posters feature extravagent, 'Come and see!' advertisments, with compostitions using star power, and sex, to sell the films. For this reason I aimed to create a simple composition which could be illustrated in a realist way, with 'wow' taglines. I have used the same images throughout my initial designs, but when developing them further will use appropriate stars to the era, and hopefull take some of my own images.

Reborio response: Initial design

In photoshop once again I have created a rough idea of how I will respond to one of my artists. Reborio, a Cuban revolutionary artist, has a fantastic style that i am looking forward to recreating in my own poster. I tried to incorporate elements of pop art, as Reborio did, by using bright, psychedellic colours. I wanted the piece to idolise the gun and hence have it surounded by a sun ray effect. I translated 'Bully' into spanish to enhance the Cuban origin, and found an appropriate font, though I think I may draw this myself to create a more psychedelic atmosphere.

Stenberg Brothers response: Initial Design


I tried to recreate a sense of constructivist style in photoshop, in order to have a starting point for a Stenberg brothers response. I began by creating a Stenberg brothers inspired background, using strong curves, like in the 'The Last Flight.' I then translated 'Bully' into russian, to enhance the soviet look, and placed this on the diagonal, a technique which has appeared in many of their posters. Using a couple of images from the film on top of this background, I aim to create an idea of the narrative, and further incorporate Stenberg style through coloured potraits.

Saul Bass response: Initial Design

Here I have created a simple photoshop composition to illustrate my idea of how to respond to Saul Bass. I used the Bass formula: an inconic, black shape, a bright, shaped background, and jagged typography. Although this desing is very rough, I think it serves as a initial starting point well.


Film Concept...

I have come up with my film idea and now feel that is simple enough to be manipulated to the context, but solid enough for me to design individual posters. I have created a document which explains how I will respond to particular artists using this concept- a simple overview to help me begin experimenting.

Title: BULLY

Genre: CRIME (Film-Noir, thriller)

Plot: A man who was bullied as a child has suffered a breakdown and begins to travel round killing “bullies” in ways representative of his past. Meanwhile a team of detectives are hot on his trail picking up bizarre clues which make the case ever more complex and deadly.


Poster features:

Title (the reccuring factor)
Star names (change over time, suited to the era)
Tagline (change depending on social events of the era)


SAUL BASS: One thing unique to Bass is his use of an iconic shape. I have chosen to use a revolver silhouette (see Mean Streets) as in my prior research I found the gun symbol to be the most common motif in the crime genre. I would also like this gun to be smoking at the barrel, as to create an iconic symbol for the film. Bass has a distinctive, jagged typeface, which I shall also apply to the poster. Many of Bass’s pieces, and in fact many from the 1950’s, use bright colours to contrast with stark blacks. For this reason I will experiment with different colours and shapes in the background.

STENBERG BROTHERS: The constructivist style of the Stenberg’s is an interesting technique, which I will try and apply to my poster. Constructivism involves using existing images and reconstructing them in a new manner. To incorporate their style, as well as the crime genre, I would like to collect some appropriate images to reconstruct (a gun, a police badge) and also some kind of coloured portrait photo, which appears in many of their pieces. I would also like to include geometric shapes in the background, and a soviet theme.

REYNOLD BROWN: The main thing I need to incorporate into a Brown response is a realist portrait. Most of his pieces included a detailed painting of the films’ star, often depicted some thematic pose relevant to a major scene in the film. For this reason I have chosen to portray a detective (Bogart) who serves as the main selling point for the film and is dressed in conventional costume to the genre, and is holding the gun. Often Brown’s posters featured some sexual interest, therefore I believe I should include a helpless woman, who appears in need of rescue by the male star. In terms of composition Brown, and most 1950’s designers, chose to feature montage scenes combining different elements of the film.

BOB PEAK: Peak’s posters from the 1960’s have a distinctive feel to them. They feature a bright painterly composition, which pastes together a selection of images from the film, giving us a broad picture of the film as opposed to one scene in particular, or just a star image. These compositions use a painted background, with prominent brush marks, and pen illustrations on top. For this I would like to include the detective character (Paul Newman) as the films heart, he is to be placed central in the piece with the other elements of the film surrounding him. Again I would like this character to be in the traditional costume for the genre, and be holding the gun. Because of the cultural background to Peak’s work, I would like this poster to incorporate a sense of change and revolution, taking elements of pop art into account. For example I will use brighter colours than expected in the genre, subverting the standard, blacks and red.

REBORIO: This Cuban revolutionary artist has a fantastic pop art style. His pieces are fantastically abstract and feature an array of psychedelic colours. I think I would like to incorporate the revolver symbol from my earlier ideas as it is an easily applicable shape, and I feel would work well in a psychedelic image. This will be drawn simply with a thick black line and may even house the typography of the poster. Surrounding this I would like to include a bold, bright sun ray effect, to create the idea that the gun is not a dark dangerous tool, but almost holy, and idolised during revolutionary times.

RICHARD AMSEL: Amsel’s posters are realist illustrations depicting characters and important elements from the films. They have no real sense of hidden message, they are simply illustrations to sell the film. I think I will respond to Amsel last once I have a collection of images and ideas of scenes and then incorporate them in a traditional montage.



Its been going quite well recently. I have uncovered information on a few more movie poster artists, and for times sake, have here just pasted in some information from their personal websites, which I will later come to type in my own words, and put in context with my film industry, and design research.

I will now begin to think of an overall film concept, to which I can create film posters in response to these artists, and the cultural style of their most prolific era.

Richard Amsel...


Richard Amsel was born in Philadelphia on December 4, 1947. He attended the Philadelphia College of Art, and, thanks in no small part to his winning HELLO DOLLY illustration, quickly found enormous popularity within New York's art scene.
The key to his success, beyond raw talent, was the unique quality of his work and illustrative style. Amsel could perfectly evoke period nostalgia (his posters for THE STING and westerns such as McCABE AND MRS. MILLER come to mind), while also producing something timeless and iconic, perfectly befitting both something old and something new. And however different his approach from one assignment to the other, all would bear his instantly recognizable stamp. Not to mention a damn cool signature:

"Amsel's work usually pays affectionate tribute to the past," one critic stated. "His style, however, is timeless and his attractive use of warm, glowing colors adds an even greater 'modernity' to his evocations of times and styles gone by."

Amsel himself said, "I'm interested in uncovering relationships between the past and the present, and in discovering how things have changed and grown. I don't see any point in copying the past, but I think the elements of the past can be taken to another realm." Such was the case with an early commission from RCA Victor, who asked the artist to create new artwork for their remastered recordings of Helen O'Connell, Maurice Chelalier, and Benny Goodman.
Amsel's illustrations then caught the attention of a young singer/songwriter named Barry Manilow, who at the time was working with a newly emerging entertainer in cabaret clubs and piano bars. Manilow introduced the two, and it was quickly decided that Amsel should do the cover of her first Atlantic Records album.

The artist's cover for Bette Midler's The Divine Miss M presented the 5'2" entertainer as a sort of natural-born icon, and one would be hard pressed to argue that Amsel's subject didn't deserve such treatment.

More album covers soon followed, along with a series of magazine ads for designer Oleg Cassini, but it's Amsel's portraits of the fire-haired diva that remain the most popular.
Amsel continued illustrating movie posters, and for some of the most important and popular films of the 1970's: THE CHAMP, CHINATOWN, JULIA, THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, THE LAST TYCOON, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JUDGE ROY BEAN, McCABE & MRS. MILLER, THE MUPPET MOVIE, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, NASHVILLE, PAPILLON, THE SHOOTIST, and THE STING among them. (The latter's poster design paid homage to none other than Leyendecker.)

Though brief, Amsel's career was certainly prolific. By the decade's end his movie posters alone matched or exceeded the creative output of many of his contemporaries. Yet Richard Amsel was far more than just a movie poster artist.

His work graced the cover of TIME -- a portrait of comedienne Lily Tomlin, now housed in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. In keeping with the magazine's stringent deadlines, Amsel's illustration was created in only two or three days.

The 1980's marked a dramatic change in movie marketing campaigns, with more and more employing photographs in favor of illustrations. Movie poster artists now faced a narrower field in which to compete, often limited to science fiction, fantasy, and adventure films. The old masters like Bob Peak -- whose bold, striking campaigns for CAMELOT, STAR TREK, SUPERMAN, and APOCALYPSE NOW helped redefine the very nature of movie poster art -- seemed increasingly dated in their style, and had to make way for a new generation of artists (notably Drew Struzan).

Yet Amsel remained productive, his trademark signature becoming a widely recognizable fixture on further magazine covers and movie posters, including such high profile, "event" films as the colorful, campy FLASH GORDON, the elaborate fantasy THE DARK CRYSTAL, and - of course - that action/adventure film with a grandstanding name, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.
Amsel's output garnered numerous awards, from the New York and Los Angeles Society of Illustrators, a Grammy Award, a Golden Key Award from The Hollywood Reporter, and citations from the Philadelphia Art Director's Club.

His last film poster was for MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME, the third of George Miller's apocalyptic action movies with Mel Gibson. His final completed artwork was for an issue of TV Guide, featuring news anchors Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather.

Amsel worked with all sorts of mediums. He frequently used thin glazes of acrylic, like washes of watercolor, and then applied colored pencils and pastels. He'd then go back and forth, combining them little by little, layer upon layer, until the piece was completed to his satisfaction.

Bob Peak...


One of the most imaginative and prolific illustrators of the 20th century, Robert Peak revolutionized advertising in the film industry and is considered the "Father of the modern movie poster." Robert Peak totally transformed the approach to movie advertising from basic collages of film stills or head shots to flamboyant artistic illustrations. United Artist hired Peak in 1961 to help promote "West Side Story." His innovative solution-painting characters and scenes into a single montage-became the first of over 100 such posters, among them "My Fair Lady," "Camelot," "Rollerball," "Star Trek," "Superman" and "Apocalypse Now." Peak was not short on editorial assignments with 45 covers of Time Magazine featuring his illustrations-most notably the portrait of Mother Teresa.

Born in Denver, Colorado, Peak grew up in Kansas. He knew from an early age that he wanted to be a commercial illustrator. At age seven, he received a gift of brushes and paints, and by age nine he was drawing recognizable likenesses. He attended Wichita State University where he majored in geology with a minor in art and got a part time job in the art department of McCormick-Armstrong. That is where he gained the confidence to choose an art career and learned the skill of versatility-doing layout, illustration and lettering. After a stint in the military during the Korean War, Peak transferred to the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, California and graduated in 1951.

In 1953 Peak moved to New York, landed an Old Hickory Whiskey ad campaign, and from that point on his career skyrocketed. His work appeared in major advertising and national magazines. Sports Illustrated sent him on assignments throughout the world, including a safari to hunt ibex with the Shah of Iran. He received the largest commission of an individual artist from the U.S. Postal Service to design 30 stamps for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California and 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.

In 1961 Peak was named Artist of the Year by the Artists Guild of New York, and in 1977 the Society of Illustrators elected him to its Hall of Fame. For his 30 years of outstanding contribution to the film industry, the Hollywood Reporter presented him the 1992 Key Art Lifetime Achievement Award.

Peak's work is included in many permanent collections, and three of these paintings-of Anwar Sadat, Mother Teresa and Marion Brando-hang in the Smithsonian Institution.

John Alvin...


Considered the pre-eminent movie campaign artist of the past 35 years, Alvin’s career began in 1974 with his creation of the iconic movie poster for Mel Brook’s “Blazing Saddles”. He most recently contributed design ideas for the campaign for Disney Studio’s “Enchanted.” In a career that encompassed multiple projects for such directors as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Blake Edwards, Mel Brooks and Ridley Scott, Alvin was considered by many studios as the go-to artist for movie poster and campaign art. John Alvin said that his work “created the promise of a great experience” and in that he never failed. 

Alvin and his wife, Andrea, had recently relocated to New York's Hudson Valley from Los Angeles in order to be closer to their daughter and only child, Farah, a Broadway actress. John Alvin said that as a child he eagerly anticipated the arrival of the Sunday paper so that he could peruse the ads for the new movies playing at the local theaters. He was enamored with the magic of film at an early age and would create art inspired largely by his love of film. That passion led him to the Art Center College of Design where he met his wife, Andrea (also a student at Art Center) from which he graduated in the early 1970s. 

His big break came with the job to create the movie poster for Mel Brook’s “Blazing Saddles” in 1974. This campaign led to Alvin creating the images for numerous other Brook's films including "Young Frankenstein". His prominence in this medium was soon after established with his creation of the movie posters for Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner,” Steven Spielberg’s “E.T.-The Extra-Terrestrial” and Blake Edward’s “Victor/Victoria.” Not only did Alvin create the movie posters for those particular films, but he also created many subsequent iconic film posters. In all, Alvin created the posters for over 135 movies in a 35 year career. He is considered to be an innovator in this genre. 

Alvin's work is currently represented in several art galleries nationwide where his original paintings, drawings and limited edition fine art reproductions are displayed. In his recent work, he continued to create iconic images for contemporary films like the Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean series.

Of the more than 120 film campaigns he has created, 'E.T. : The Extra-Terrestrial' is the most satisfying to Alvin, and appropriately so, as the movie is one of the most successful in cinema history. In addition to receiving the Hollywood Reporter Key Art Awards’ grand prize, Alvin's E.T. was the only movie art ever to be honored with the Saturn Award from The Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Films. 

Alvin has also produced many special works for Lucasfilm Ltd.'s Star Wars phenomenon. His Star Wars Concert and Star Wars Tenth Anniversary poster are among the most collectible Star Wars art in the market today. Additionally, The Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C., exhibited Alvin's 'The Phantom of the Paradise' as one of the best posters of the 20th Century. 

The ability to infuse art with feeling was one reason Disney wanted Alvin for The Lion King and the “adult campaigns” for many Disney animated classics. The adult campaign will usually be more elegant, more symbolic, and in Alvin's masterful hands, imbued with a moody, almost magical aura. "His work inspires us," say the Disney marketing execs. "Alvin brings emotion into his artwork that can only be captured in an illustration. We call it 'Alvinizing'." 

Alvin acquired a full array of artist's skills and techniques as a student of the distinguished Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. Soon thereafter, in 1974, he got his chance to put his love of entertainment art and his artist training to work by creating the campaign art for Mel Brook's 'Blazing Saddles'. Looking back, Alvin is surprised at times to realize that he’s been creating cinema art for more than twenty-five years. 

Alvin has developed and maintained a very loyal following among collectors of cinema art, making his original art and signed reproductions much sought after and treasured pieces of movie memorabilia. Truly, John Alvin belongs to a very special and very short list of cinema art masters whose works have become icons in Hollywood’s rich and colorful history. Most recently, John has been commissioned by Disney to create interpretive images for their fine art program, and he has been chosen as both the official fine artist for the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the official poster artist for the 30th anniversary Star Wars Celebration in 2007. Clearly at the top of his game, John Alvin continues to increase the number of his admirers and collectors, not only as they look back on his substantial body of work, but also as they look to newest interpretive cinema art


Poster of the week...


Designer: Stenberg Brothers

Source: impawards.com

This poster is iconic of the Stenberg's style. The soviet poster moves away from using star power, and glorious painterly images, to use an more abstract poster design. The poster uses images to hint toward the narrative though lets us make our own perceptions through its constructivist style.

Genre comparisons...


It seems an obvious point to make, but the major recurring motifs in horror posters are unnatural creatures and murderous people. In older film posters in particular these are made very obvious and fit well with in your face text and exclamatory taglines, whereas in more recent posters they are suggested- hidden in the darkness, only partially present, or not depicted at all as the poster shows just what they are capable of, or a more abstract idea of them.

In terms of colour the horror genre tends to feature a large amount of red and black. These colours are appropriate to the genre with the connotations of death, fear, and blood. Often the posters feature some shade of green, this in itself can be seen as a spooky rather than murderous colour and hence approiate to the more supernatural films of the genre.

In older posters the typography is very over the top. Some kind of bold, rash type face is used to slam the title to your face, this is often highlighted in some bright green, yellow, or red, and more often than not features a exclamation. The genre has certainly developed to become more subtle andsuggestive with type now merging into darkness, or being very faintly playing on the fear of the unkown.


Genre comparisons...

Science Fiction:

The most common features of scifi through time are unnatural creatures and futuristic images. These are to be expected from the genre and reccur through many of the posters. Often futuristic, streamline images give an idea of the narrative, whilst if an unnatural creature is featured it is most commonly causing some threat or disruption to humans. These creatures can be anything from aliens, to prehistoric monsters as the genre has a wide scope.

The colour scheme- most prominent in pre 70’s posters- uses bright unnatural colours to express that they are something different, unusual, and not real. In some posters these colours are shown through typography, while in others they make up the whole background. Occasionally realist images are used which make the genre appear mre real, however these colours are used to contrast with this and hence convey the unatural. In later posters a darker colour scheme is used, and the genre appears to have become more gritty, and sinister. Space balck and blues often feature in the background, with the futuristic images in the fore.


Stenberg Brothers...

The Soviet Stenberg brothers designed many film posters during the 20's and 30's. The brothers had a knowledge of avant-garde and theater design, and through influences in Constructivism and Futurism, developed a new style to poster art. It is clear to see their unqiue style has influenced poster art today.

1920's post-revolutionary Soviets loved film. The government supported the film industry with large fuding, and this allowed film makers to produce patroiotic movies for the masses, whilst using the extra funding to creat cutting-edge, avant-garde cinema as well.

Constructivism involves taking images from other sources, and reconstructing them in a different manner. This can be seen in their poster for 'The Man With the Movie Camera,' which gives an abstract image of the films narrative.

Constructivist's also empolyed strong geometric shapes, and were often asscioated with diagonals in their poster work. This can be seen in the poster for 'A Commonplace Story' as well as 'The Man With the Movie Camera.'


Poster of the week...

This week: MEAN STREETS (1973)


Source: impawards.com

This poster for Scorseses’ Mean Streets conveys the crime genre well. The gun motif appears once again, and is some how subtly prominent. By merging it with the street, the gun becomes part of the neighbourhood and the home, and everyday thing. This could be symbolic of the gun being part of life, or even a place of safety, as your home should be. It is held up right and the barrel smokes as though it has just been fired, this conveying the violence of the film. The colour scheme follows that of generic convention, featuring blood reds and stark blacks. The block shapes have an art deco feel about them. I like the way the piece is built up of theses stencil like images and we instantly associate them with a gritty American street.


Genre comparisons...


Firstly colour scheme. There appears to be two colour schemes that run through the romance genre. In many of the older posters (pre1970) that I looked at, strong, passionate reds are used in combination with a substantial amount of white or black. However in modern posters, light-hearted, pastel colours have become popular, and are used along with black and white. Quite often through time the title of the film has been coloured red.

As the gun, or weapon is the reccuring motif in crime posters, a couple in some kind of embrace is in romance. Most of the posters I looked at featured the couple the story surrounds in a loving position, sometimes passionate, sometimes awkward- depending on the nature of the narrative. Often other smaller images are used around the main focus to develop our understanding, and create audience expectations. A few feature some sort of image with sexual connotations, be this through costume, props, or body position.

In most of the posters, star power is used as selling point. In most cases names are displayed at the top of the poster, however large images of the stars are also used. The majority of the posters feature a woman bigger than a man. What I mean by this is that composition is used to make the woman seem more dominant the man, this reflecting the target audience for the genre.


Poster of the week...

This week: Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Designer: Bill Gold

Source: impawards.com

This poster is interesting as it makes the murderous motif behind Bonnie and Clyde seem more shocking as it is presented as comical and light hearted- the way the characters see it. This is signified by the pastel purple colour, and the candy-cane, curling typeface, both of which feel family friendly and welcoming. This idea is further reinforced by the image, which depicts their laughing faces. The tagline sums up their feelings perfectly. Elements of crime are still present in the poster. The gun motif is replaced by bullet marks, and Warren Beatty is dressed in the classic attire. The white space in the picture conveys a sense of harsh environment, and the small image, an idea of being on the run. Black appears in the poster still despite he absence of the usual red, and it is interesting that most of the page is surrounded by white, apart from the characters who are surrounded by black, symbolic of evil, and darkness.


Genre through time...


I have looked at posters from each decade and through semiotic analysis, have picked out key features and motifs, that appear through time.

The most obvious similarity is colour scheme. Most, if not all, the posters I have analysed feature a red, black, and white colour scheme. It seems our associations with red and blood, and black and evil, are not going to change and hence have been popular over time, the white making contrast to the colours, and often representing a good, pure side of a narrative.

A second recurring design feature is bold, masculine typefaces, often using capital letters. I believe this to be as the crime genre is typically masculine oriented, and this style has military, or law enforcement connotations.

The posters a generally dominated by male characters. They are often dressed in typical costume: either dark coat and hat, or smart, gangster suit, and more often than not are sporting an intense look. Occasionally there is a female character in the posters, and when there is she is used to connote sex appeal, or vulnerability, and hence needing rescue from the male characters we see.

The gun motif reoccurs across most of the posters, this may seem obvious as symbol of the genre, however sometimes it is subtly placed and expresses the genre without being explicitly in your face. If the gun does not appear, another weapon, a body, or an offensive position replaces it.


Poster of the week...

This week... PULP FICTION (1994)
Possibly the most iconic film poster of all time? Quentin Tarintino's 'Pulp Fiction' is noted as one of the greatest films of all time, and I feel the poster does not dissapoint this title. It incorporates classic 40's pin-up in the image of Uma Thurman, and pop art in some ways, with the bright contrasting colours and font style. Elements of the narrative are displayed in the photo: a cigarette and gun. The stars are reeled off down the left hand side, and the crumpled scratched effect conveys the edgy stlye.


Poster of the Week...

This week: TWELVE MONKEYS (1995)

Source: http://www.impawards.com/1995/twelve_monkeys_ver1.html

Designer: BLT & associates

Again simplicity has caught my eye, and been one of the main reasons behind my poster of the week. In a way this poster is not entirely effective as it doesn't convey much about the genre, story, characters, or idea of he film, however it is extremely intriguing. The scratched red illustration gives a gritty tone to the piece and the tilted, cracked title reinforces this. The tagline is brilliantly ambiguous. The clock-face image gives some insight into the time-traveling motif of the film.

Bill Gold...

Bill Gold is by no doubt one of the greatest film poster designers of all time. Gold has created posters across seven decades, many of them famous and iconic. It is hard to choose an era that houses his greatest pieces, right from Casablanca (1942) to Unforgiven (1992), so many of Gold’s posters stand out, however it seems the 1970’s contain the bulk of his best work.

During his 60-year career he worked with some of Hollywood's greatest filmmakers, including Clint Eastwood, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Elia Kazan, Ridley Scott, and many more. Among his most famous film posters are those for Casablanca, A Clockwork Orange, and The Sting. Furthermore, Bill Gold designed (and often photographed) posters for 35 consecutive Clint Eastwood films, from Dirty Harry (1971) to Mystic River (2004).

Bill Gold was born on January 3, 1921, in New York City. He studied illustration and design at Pratt Institute in New York. He began his professional design career in 1941, in the advertising department of Warner Bros. Bill Gold became head of poster design in 1947. In 1959 his brother Charlie joined him in the business and they formed BG Charles to do the film trailers. Charlie operated BG Charles in Los Angeles, while Bill operated in New York City. In 1987 Charlie left the business and retired to Vermont. Charlie Gold died on December 25, 2003 at the age of 75. Bill Gold lives in the New York region.

In 1962, Bill Gold created Bill Gold Advertising in New York City. In 1997 Bill moved the company to Stamford, CT. and continued his business, producing posters for every film Clint Eastwood produced, directed, and/or acted in, among others. In 1994 Bill was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Hollywood Reporter. Richard Benjamin was the MC for the ceremony at the Directors Guild, and Clint Eastwood presented the award to Bill Gold on behalf of The Hollywood Reporter.

Bill Gold is currently an active member of the Society of Illustrators, the Art Directors Club and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

All of Gold's posters have had a distinctive style. Each poster gave a film its unique identity, often creating the only lasting impression of a film that many would get. Gold's ever-changing style reflected a wide range of current tastes, trends, and approaches, yet never strayed from the tried-and-true basics of film promotion. Together, Bill Gold's poster art represents many of the most important American films since the advent of color photography. After his first film project Yankee Doodle Dandy, he collaborated with the American film industry's top film directors and film producers. Especially fruitful was Gold's relationship with the illustrator Bob Peak. Gold's work spanned seven decades and inspired numerous other designers.


Poster of the week...

This Week: CASABLANCA (1942)

Designer: Bill Gold

Source: http://www.impawards.com/1942/casablanca.html

I chose this piece because it's a great piece of artwork, a intricate sketch depicting the range of characters in the film. The image has a great sense of noir about it with the shadowy atmosphere it creates. I love the typography at the top of the poster: big bold surnames, and flowing first. The title is also a great typeface, stylistic of the era, the bright red, striking and bold in front of the sketches. The collection of images not only present the star power attraction, but also give hint towards the narrative of the film.


Reynold Brown...

Another artist from the 1950's, whose work I have looked at is Reynold Brown. He is noted for his poster artwork and has created a great number of pieces in the film industry. His realist artwork has been used in iconc sci-fi posters of the 50's, ('The Attack of the 5oft Woman' was my poster of the week a few days back), as well as some Hollywood blockbusters.


Reynold Brown was born in 1917 in Los Angeles. He drew continuously as a child and particularly liked telling stories by drawing, comic book style, for the neighborhood children. He got a well rounded art education in Alhambra High School in California under the stewardship of a World War I veteran and artist, Lester Bonar. His skills won him a scholarship to attend art school after graduation but due to the death of his father he had to begin working to care for his mother and two younger sisters.

About 1937, with the help of Bonar, he was able to get a job inking and then drawing the syndicated comic strip by Hal Forrest, "Tailspin Tommy." This strip told the story of a barnstorming pilot, Tailspin Tommy. Brown worked on the strip until 1941.

With the outbreak of World War II, Brown was able to use his aircraft rendering skills learned from working on Tailspin Tommy to land a job with North American Aviation in California. At first he did technical illustrations for service manuals. He soon devised what were to be called phantom drawings in which aircraft were drawn with a clear skin so that the internal structure of the aircraft was visible. Brown also listened to the stories of returning aviators and used these stories as the basis of a number of illustrations which appeared in the technical manuals, advertising, North American promotional literature and its in house publication, "Skyline."The phantom drawings also appeared in Popular Aviation and Flying Magazine.

In 1946, at war's end, Brown married Tejeda. They moved to New York so he could pursue a career in illustration. His illustrations appeared in magazines such as Boys' Life, Outdoor Life, Popular Science and Argosy. He also did some of the first paperback or pocketbook illustrations. His work appeared on the covers of books by Van Tilburg Clark, (The Ox Bow Incident), William Faulkner (Sanctuary) and Erle (SP) Stanley Gardner (Perry Mason mysteries).

Working first in Temple City and later La Verne, he continued to do illustration work. He also took a teaching position at Art Center College of Design. There he would teach figure and head drawing for 26 years. Among his many students were some of today's finest artists including sculptors Hollis Williford and Richard Mac Donald, painters Gordon Snidow and John Asaro, and Illustrators Robert Peak and Dru Struzan.

In 1951, while doing a show for Art Center, Brown met Misha Kallis, an Art Director for Universal Pictures. Brown soon completed his first movie poster for Universal, The World in His Arms, featuring Gregory Peck and Ann Blyth. That began a series of over 250 campaigns for Universal, MGM, Disney and American International Pictures (AIP). Brown's work was used to promote classics like Ben Hur and Spartacus, westerns such as The Alamo and Taza, Son of Cochise and drama, horror, monster and science fiction films. His science fiction works for such pieces as The Time Machine and This Island Earth, as well as his monsters like The Creature from the Black Lagoon have already become popular among collectors.

Brown's work featured many important stars including Elizabeth Taylor (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), John Wayne and Richard Widmark (The Alamo), Rod Steiger (Run of the Arrow, Al Capone), James Cagney (Man of a Thousand Faces), James Stewart (Shenandoah, The Rare Breed) and Fred MacMurray (Gun for a Coward).

While doing the movie posters Brown continued to do other illustration work for other media including a number of record jacket covers.

In the early seventies, Brown decided to take part in the developing market for fine art paintings on a western theme. Brown had always liked painting the west as a subject in his illustrations. He set aside illustration work, including poster art and concentrated on western paintings for the fine arts market. Brown's skills well developed through his many years of illustrating, made his work popular and he sold about 250 oil paintings. These covered not only the west; they included portraits, harbor scenes and landscapes. He also sold work in charcoal, pencil, pastel and watercolor.

Brown suffered a severe stroke in 1976. His left side was completely paralyzed. With the help of Mary Louise, he was able to retrain himself. Although unable to do the detailed and highly representational work of his pre-stroke years, he was none-the-less able to do produce some powerful drawings and beautiful landscape paintings of Nebraska, where he settled in 1983 and remained until his death in 1991.


Saul Bass...

The first artist I have chosen to research, is the one whose work I have found most interesting during this process: SAUL BASS.

Bass has a unique and interesting approach to design. His work really stands out from the crowd. He uses a great mix of shape and colour in his pieces, working jagged, black shapes, over bright backgrounds. The typography in his pieces is very similar, it has an awkward arty sense about it with its up-down alignment, bold shape, and use of capitals.


Born in the Bronx district of New York in 1920 to an emigré furrier and his wife, he was a creative child who drew constantly. Bass studied at the Art Students League in New York and Brooklyn College under Gyorgy Kepes, an Hungarian graphic designer who had worked with László Moholy-Nagy in 1930s Berlin and fled with him to the US. Kepes introduced Bass to Moholy’s Bauhaus style and to Russian Constructivism.

After apprenticeships with Manhattan design firms, Bass worked as a freelance graphic designer or "commercial artist" as they were called. Chafing at the creative constraints imposed on him in New York, he moved to Los Angeles in 1946. After freelancing, he opened his own studio in 1950 working mostly in advertising until Preminger invited him to design the poster for his 1954 movie, Carmen Jones. Impressed by the result, Preminger asked Bass to create the film’s title sequence too.

Now over-shadowed by Bass’ later work, Carmen Jones elicited commissions for titles for two 1955 movies: Robert Aldrich’s The Big Knife, and Billy Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch. But it was his next Preminger project, The Man with the Golden Arm, which established Bass as the doyen of film title design.

Artist Profiles...

My research has been going well so far, I have some information for each decade, and a collection of great posters. My supervisor is pleased with what I have been up to, and made a great suggestion about how to move forward. The plan is to research into specific artists from each era also, and profile them. Then I can create a response specific to their work, rather than the work of a whole century, across different genres and styles.


Poster of the week...

This week: A Clockwork Orange

Designer: Bill Gold

Source: http://www.impawards.com/1971/clockwork_orange.html

This poster instantly conveys a dark feel to the film. I like the way the black and the sharp points draw your eye towards the center and Alex's sinister eyes. I believe it is a good composition, it flows nicely from top to bottom- the tagline, the image, the title.


Poster of the week...

This week: ATTACK OF THE 50ft WOMAN (1958)

Designer: Reynold Brown

Source: http://uk.movieposter.com/poster/b70-373/Attack_of_the_50_Foot_Woman.html

This is an iconic film poster of the late 50's. The artist, Reynold Brown, has a individual style which can be seen across a number of film posters that he has created. The design captures 50's sci-fi superbly, it is one of many creature features of the time. It is a detailed illustration bought out so well by the bold yellow background. I really like this piece as I feel it is a great representation of the artwork typical to the time and genre. This illustrative technique is not seen so often in film posters today, and hence the poster does not stand the test of time. It seems the piece mixes 1940's pinup with 1950's sci-fi, creating an all round intriguing (though slightly cheesy) poster.


Poster of the week...

This week: FULL METAL JACKET (1987)

Designer: Philip Castle

Source: http://www.impawards.com/1987/full_metal_jacket.html

This poster proves how simplicity can be very effective. The helmet shape and camoflauge pattern are instantly representative of the Vietnam war, making the poster tell all it needs to to be intriguing but not to little to be vague. The helmet alone gives off the same mix of messages as the film itself. The bullets and 'Born to Kill' writing both symbolic of the violence, and the killing-machine attitude that the Vietnam war pressed on its young fighters, in contrast to the peace symbol, representative of hope, and anti-war prostesting. I'm still unsure why I find this poster so appealing, I supose, after reeeling through so many similar posters, this one stands out as plain yet bold, with a powerful, masculine sense about it. It is straight to the point and has a in your face appeal, almost mirroring the cockey attitudes of the some of the films soliders. This whole idea is sometime by the brilliant tagline which adds the black humour of parts of the film.

Its going ok...

I now feel I have a good amount of research surrounding each era before the 1950's. The books I am using are very detailed and I'm finding it hard to pick out specifically what I need. I keep reinforcing the fact that this is to be a creative piece and I would like my poster responses to speak for themselves as to the style of a decade. However I will be including a small amount of written research and analysis, so I will continue with my research.


Poster of the week...

This week: FARGO (1996)

Designers: Creative Partnership
Optic Nerve

Source: http://www.impawards.com/1996/fargo.html

This is one of my favourite posters out of the hundreds I have looked through. I love the way it brings 'normal folk' into a twisting murder saga, by using the knitted effect. The poster conveys the black comedy of the film as well as the crime genre. The Coen brothers are known for breaking formalities and trying things that don't quite go with the norm and the poster perfectly combines everday people and murder, as does the film. The poster is very simple and the welcoming stlye of the writing and sewn border contrast with the image depicted. I like posters which stand out from the pack and this really does, I think its a very clever technique to have used and instantly portrays that 'this is going to be something different' idea.