Ad for The Portland 48 Hour Film Festival (2014)

There was a call for design help posted through Facebook as a new ad was needed for The Portland 48 Hour Film Festival in the 2014 Oregon Production Directory. By Friday. It was Tuesday. After a quick consult with Rob Hutch, the standard details (like formatting, color limitations, etc) were set. things like using the logo design and contact details were sorted here too. The fun part for me is learning about what my clients wanted to say with my work. After a little more back and forth the foundations came out: Something that feel Exciting, Unpredictable,  Daring. Has a community foundation, and (my favorite) inspired by vintage horror posters.

That’s right- MOVIE POSTERS. With the key phrase: “Return of the 48 Hour Film Festival”. AWW YEAH!

With that I did research, focusing on 1930’s classic horror flicks like this:

dracula

   or this

Screaming-Skull-Movie-Poster-620x943

One of my right away favorites was this one for the 1930 film “The Bat Whispers”:

bat_whispers_poster

Look at that color combo and use of negative space! RAD!

So back to the project. After taking a gander at some 1940’s Sci-Fi posters too, I did quick sketches that ended up with these 4 ideas as my first pass:

Option 1

Playing with negative space and Copy/Logo placement.

Playing with negative space and Copy/Logo placement.

Option 2

Again using space, but instead of shapes focusing on what just line contrast could do. again Copy and Logo make up most of it.

Again using space, but instead of shapes focusing on what just line contrast could do. again Copy and Logo make up most of it. Looking back it also has this “Silence of the Lambs meets Clockwork Orange” vibe. NEAT.

Option 3

More Sci-Fi inspired, for sure. there was a great audience photo taken at the last 48 Hour film Festival that would have been the main background for this one.

More Sci-Fi inspired, for sure. there was a great audience photo taken at the last 48 Hour film Festival that would have been the main background for this one.

Option 4

Here the focus was on the time limit of the festival, essentially the heart of the challenge. The tagline came first and then the hourglass idea.

Here the focus was on the time limit of the festival, essentially the heart of the challenge. The tagline came first and then the hourglass idea.

Here is a look at all four together:

Some nice variety me thinks.

Some nice variety me thinks.

So I sent the options and waited for my first round of feedback. It was pretty quick and options 1 and 4 came out the winners. What was even cooler was that my use of block-outs to indicate copy placement ended up being seen by Rob as shapes in the design. Option 1 in particular suddenly had stairs. And what can you do with stairs in a horror movie poster ? Put someone on top of them of course. Which gives you a shadow and vintage horror ensued:

Option 1- Draft 2

48HFF_OptionA

It’s BAAAACK!

Not to be outdone, Option 4 suddenly felt the need to over-whelm a poor soul. Literally drowning them in the festival intensity. Trust me- I did it. Day’s prepping for an unknown genre, no sleep, writing, acting, directing, shooting, set-dressing, FINISHING (hopefully). You give it your best because doing it is like nothing else… especially if you are still standing at the end:

48HFF_OptionB

The clock is ticking.

In the end only one design could be victorious, and we went with Option 1. I’m pretty sure a coin was flipped, as Rob really liked them both. So going back to the original formatting info (CMYK, only greyscale and Pantone 151c, 8.5 x11, etc) I started the color mock-up. I did the big basic shapes, then focused on the figure. Here is a close-up of it:

Figure WIP

One of my favorite parts of this project by far.

Then it was ready for the next round of critique:

So Close!

So Close!

It looks great- so close, there was  some last info to add. “Portland” or “PDX48FF” needed to be included to make sure people knew it was local, as well as contact info for sponsorship opportunities. So I made a few more options:

Option A

48HFF_OPD2014_UpdatedD

and

Option B

48HFF_OPD2014_UpdatedG

and in the end we went with this one:

48HFF_OPD2014_UpdatedC

Not bad for a 3 day turn around! It was a great experience, and I look forward to working with Rob and the Portland 48 Hour Film Festival team again.

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