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May 13, 2011

Pictogram Posters

Pictogram Posters Reduce Film Posters To Bare Minimum

Movies and film posters in particular seem to be an inexhaustible source of inspiration for graphic designers. We have just seen the fascinating Grafilm series from Atipo, and two years ago I reported about Mitch Ansara’s humorous I Can Read Movies spoof book covers and Olly Moss’ popular 8 Films In Black And Red. This time I would like to highlight the Pictogram Movie Posters by Viktor Hertz.

Viktor Hertz is a freelance graphic designer and photographer from Uppsala, Sweden, with a passion for film, music and funny YouTube videos. And a sense of humour, judging from his About page:

I am currently quite cheap to hire, so take the chance and exploit me, before I get a proper education and a steady job. Hopefully.

A while ago Viktor started a new ongoing project called the Pictogram Movie Posters. The first designs were posted on his Flickr page in January 2011, and steadily new ones are added. Using one or more (adapted) pictograms he creates alternate posters for both recent and older movies. More than simply placing an object from the movie on the poster with the title and credits underneath, he either translates the title or theme of the film into a simple, striking image, or recreates an iconic image or key scene. Viktor often puts a surprising twist on the image or adds a dash of humour to prevent that his minimalist designs would be too obvious and become a bit boring. Which quite frankly they don’t.

The seed for the whole pictogram project was Viktor Hertz’ Stanley Kubrick series.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Kubrick, ever since I first saw A Clockwork Orange. The self-confidence of the images and the use of classical music simply blew me away. It felt like watching film for the very first time, as it should be. Furthermore watching 2001: A Space Odyssey still gives me goosebumps. It’s hard to believe that movie was made in 1968, because I think it looks better than most sci-fi films being made today! Stanley Kubrick is one of the main reasons I am so enamored with cinema and became a movie buff, even studying film theory. For me (and many others) he is the ultimate film director, lifting film-making to the highest possible level. I wish he’d lived a little longer. I remember learning the sad news in 1999 – I was 16 and in school, during math or biology class I think. I was devastated. It may sound like a cliché, but it felt like losing a friend, it really did. Especially since – being a teenager – escapism is one of the most important things in your life. I decorated my room with Kubrick posters and even bought an original Full Metal Jacket onesheet. At some point I spent all my savings on a Kubrick DVD-box, which was stolen at a party a few years ago. I remember being sad and very angry at first, yet then I couldn’t help myself for being happy with the thief’s taste in film. I hope he or she still is a Kubrick fan.

His first poster redesign was for The Shining, using two woman pictograms symbolising the twins in the film. Viktor quickly followed up this first Kubrick poster with pictogram designs for all sorts of films, but he simultaneously started working on other Kubrick posters. He kept those a secret as he wanted to complete the whole series before releasing them. After he had finished a couple Viktor was contacted by La Cinémathèque Française, asking him if they could feature the posters in their online exhibition “Kubrick et le Web”. This was the perfect reason to put in the extra effort and complete the series (although he is missing Killer’s Kiss).

The Pictogram Movie Poster series is yet another refreshing redesign project. It’s a fun exercise in conciseness with a skewed sense of humour, showing how concepts can be reduced to universally recognisable symbols. The simple black on white execution perfectly suits the pictogram style. All type is set in Helvetica, which is a logical choice because it echoes the detached objectivity of the pictograms. Only the Stanley Kubrick series is white on black with all-caps Futura Extra Bold, the late film-maker’s typeface of choice.

The pictograms come from The Noun Project, whose mission is “sharing, celebrating and enhancing the world’s visual language”. The Noun Project collects, organises and adds to the highly recognisable symbols that form the world’s visual language, to share them in a fun and meaningful way. The symbols on their site are available for free, as they believe symbols can not be effectively shared with the world if they aren’t. The Noun Project interviewed Vikto Hertz on their blog.

The Pictogram Movie Posters are now available as prints.

Pictogram Posters Reduce Film Posters To Bare Minimum Fonts in Use , ScreenFonts | Yves Peters | May 5, 2011 Movies and film posters in particular seem to be an inexhaustible source of inspiration for graphic designers. We have just seen the fascinating Grafilm series from Atipo , and two years ago ...»See Ya