My Art: End of the Line

As you may have already deduced, I graduated from college earlier this year. Graduated! Diploma and all. In order to graduate, I needed to create a Senior Project and display it in a local gallery. This I did and had a great time in the process. You will not be surprised to learn that I used this project as an excuse to sit around and watch classic films as research. So, please have a look! I’m finally ready to share it with you.The project is a marketing campaign for a classic film festival I named End of the Line. It’s a festival of 5 classic Noir films all centering around trains. It took me ages to decide which to choose, but I narrowed it down to:

The Lady Vanishes (1938)

Double Indemnity (1944)

Terror By Night (1946)

The Tall Target (1951)

The Narrow Margin (1952)

The campaign consists of a logo, 5 redesigned film posters, 6 ticket designs, a website and a display area for the gallery. In addition, I designed trading cards with my information on them to give to patrons and a teaser poster to advertise my project at the show. We needed to have an artist’s statement/thesis to hang on the wall next to our projects, too.

THESIS

In the creation of a marketing campaign for a five film festival of classic Noir drams, I highlight fresh aspects of the films presented. With the intent of piquing the interest of young adults, I have rebranded the films with vintage inspired graphics and factual interpretations of the plots. The common thread tying all five films together is the fact that each plot centers around a train journey gone awry.

The supporting promotional materials serve both a functional and commemorative purpose in the campaign. Intended for use in small theatres across the country, the campaign would be available for owners to purchase and host at their discretion.

THE POSTERS

One of the reasons I decided to pursue this project was the frustration I felt attempting to explain the incredible world of classic movies to people my age. I have actually talked with people who refused to watch a classic film “because it’s black and white.” I remember the conversation well, probably because that comment was akin to The Hulk punching me in the face. Before that, I naively believed everyone would be excited to hear about this wonderful cinematic world I had discovered.

Armed with this knowledge of general oafishness, I set out to reveal the stylish, fascinating and wholly worthy nature of classic movies in a way the younger generations could appreciate. I soon realized the most important piece of this mission would be the redesigned posters. Clean, bold and easy to understand at a glance were my goals. I wanted to depict the films truthfully and in a visually appealing way without giving away any plot points, but at the same time hold the interest of diehard fans.

THE TICKETS

The tickets were the easiest piece to design, but the hardest to get printed successfully. If you look closely, you can see every one of them is perforated so the stub can be separated from the ticket. The festival pass even has 5 perforations on the same ticket. You can imagine how a printer handled this. They printed the tickets (all 350 of them…) and forgot to perforate them. I nearly died when the man called and told me that the day before the show opened. I’m not a pushy person at all, but I told him in no uncertain terms he better get them fixed and fast. Thankfully, they were.

Anyway, for these tickets I wanted to combine the idea of movie tickets and train tickets with the integration of a vintage railroad hole puncher. Every ticket has a white circle on the back to be punched at the time you enter the theatre. It’s a purely commemorative gesture, but I felt it was an important touch to lend a train journey feel to the promotional materials. This punch was a lucky Etsy find – it creates a bee wing shape!

THE WEBSITE

eotlff.com – This little site made me so happy when it was finished. I wrote the code for every single thing you see there. All the hovers, all the links, every image you see. I typed out every single character that makes this site work. I even bought a domain and uploaded the whole tidy little package to the server. Be sure to take a peek at the Films page. That was my favorite part to code. (I’m told it doesn’t look to full advantage in Internet Explorer, though…)

THE DISPLAY

Apologies for the subpar photos – no matter how I tried, I couldn’t get a decent photo in this space! It looked marvelous in person, I promise. The black backdrop is a 6′ by 8′ vinyl banner I designed. See those map dots? Those are the actual departure and destination cities in each of the movies, arranged with mild geographical accuracy. (I fretted over the fact it wasn’t geographically correct for months. Eventually, I realized it didn’t matter all that much.) The vintage suitcases were an almost-last-minute revelation that helped bring the whole project together. I tied the stacks with jute rope and thick wire to prevent anyone walking off with them. It worked well!

The incredible sample suitcase served as a holder for the tickets and trading cards. Visitors to the show were allowed to take those as souvenirs. I had to take this suitcase to a metal shop and have a piece of metal cut to fit so it would stay open. The man who helped me figure out the fix was the nicest guy. He made the problem of transforming this suitcase into a display piece a fun adventure, instead of the headache I was anticipating.

THE TEASER POSTER

About a month before the show opened in the main gallery, a smaller gallery hosted a show of the teaser posters my class created. The design above was one of my original ideas, but I couldn’t find a way to make it work with one of the movies. It turned out to be the perfect solution for this poster. The blue circle contains a block of text we absolutely had to have on our posters (mandate from the college’s marketing department). It contained the name of our college and the exact place of the main show. I’ve changed it to gibberish now, but you get the idea. At the time, the QR code in the lower right corner created a reminder for the event in your phone if you scanned it. It now leads straight back here to my blog.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Even though this was the only project I’ve ever worked on that brought me close to tears, it’s my favorite. I’m proud of it, even after looking at it for the first time since it was completed back in April. (I have a policy of putting away all my finished work and taking it out again months later to reassess it. When you are in the thick of an idea, it’s difficult to see it with critical eyes.) That said, I’m really interested in your opinions. In fact, the whole time I worked on this, I kept considering what you guys would think. Did I do the films justice? Are the posters appealing to people who know all about the films? You tell me.

I’ve finally summoned up enough courage to share this here, so please don’t be shy with your thoughts!

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18 Comments

Filed under Classic Movies, My Art, Noir

18 responses to “My Art: End of the Line

  1. It looks amazing! I’m so impressed that you did all of this.

  2. Thanks so much, Audrey! I’m very happy you like it!

  3. Casey, first of all, congratulations on graduating! Second, I’m truly wowed with your “End of the Line” project! The graphics are clean and sharp, conveying the motifs of trains and film noir beautifully. I loved the look of the old-school briefcases. And of course, the films themselves are awesome, many among my favorites. If I was in your burg and you were having the End of the Line festival near me, I’d plunk down my money for a ticket without a moment’s hesitation. Great job!

  4. KC

    This is fantastic! Everything is so beautifully executed. You’ve got something to be proud of.

  5. It looks amazing. The posters are great and I love the tickets too. Really, really good work. The Double Indemnity one is especially clever: it looks brilliant at a first glance, but then when I enlarged it to see what the text was; even better.
    And the one for The Narrow Margin does what a film poster really should do: make me want to see a film I’ve never heard of.
    Just wish the festival itself was real….

  6. Emm

    Casey, you have no idea how delighted I was when I accidentally discovered your gorgeous project a couple of months back. (I felt a little bad for creeping your thesis, but it was Google’s fault!) I’m so happy you decided to share it with the world! It’s so pretty and vintagesque. And the suitcases for your display — GENIUS.

    I’m really hoping I have some design work that I’ll need sometime so I can have you for my graphics artist. Maybe when I come out with an album? ;)

  7. THIS IS SO DARN FABULOUS! I adore it! And hey…THE VINTAGE LUGGAGE! It’s complete perfection. Go you! Do you want to design the logo for my boutique? :-P

  8. I am flabbergasted. This whole package is absolutely positively gorgeous. If my jaw wasn’t hurting so much, it would have been on the floor. Gorgeous! I really love that Double Indemnity poster. Is that an insurance policy in the background? Love love love. And I love the tickets too. It’s cool how you used your collection of vintage luggage for the set-up. And I really love the idea of the film festival. Great job Casey!

  9. Hi Dorian, Thank you so much for the extensive feedback! I’m thrilled to have created something to wow you. :D I’m especially happy to hear you would be interested in attending the festival! Thanks again,
    Casey

  10. Thank you so much, KC! I really appreciate your comments!
    Casey

  11. Hello, Matthew! I was hoping someone would catch that background in the Double Indemnity poster. :) I’m very happy you liked it enough to click on it and find out! I highly recommend The Narrow Margin. It stars Charles McGraw who was usually stuck in thug roles. The Narrow Margin gave him a chance to really shine in a fascinating part and shine he does! The story is full of twists and turns, so I won’t say any more. I’d love to hear what you think of it!

    Thank you so much for the kind words!

    Casey

  12. Heehee, Emm! It was you finding that log that gave me the final bit of courage I needed to share this! So, thank you very much for that! :D I’m so happy you like the suitcase idea. In the end, it all came together better than I hoped in the beginning.

    And I would be honored to design something for you! :)

    Casey

  13. Niamhy!!!! Thank you so much! Heehee, yup those same suitcases I photographed my new yellow brogues on had a previous life! ;D And of course, I’d be thrilled to design a logo for you! :D

    Casey

  14. Thank you so much, Raquelle! Yes indeedy, that is an insurance policy on the Double Indemnity poster. Acquiring that text to put on there was one of the big problems I had to work through. Apparently, insurance companies are insane about protecting the wording of their policies and even my own insurance company wouldn’t send me the text I needed! I ended up getting very lucky and finding a sample policy online that I used instead. ;)

    Thanks again for your kind comment!

    Casey

  15. Pingback: Comfy Chair! « speakeasy

  16. SO, so so so so awesome!! You got my “gush-about-other-blogs” featurette, the “comfy chair” this week (and this time I mean the actual chair, you deserve it after your amazing work. I’ll just get a new one) and I hope lots of people see your fab artistry. Did I say awesome? I hope you keep sharing your future work. Congrats, much success, and best!

  17. Hi Kristina,

    Thank you very much for bestowing a comfy chair on me! I’m honored! It makes me so happy you enjoy my work!

    Casey

  18. The posters, tickets and display are gorgeous. It sounds like you put a lot of heart and soul into this project!

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