Are you ready for this year’s Bigger Picture Show? This is my third year to be included in the annual fund-raiser for the Indianapolis International Film Festival, and this year I was lucky enough to get to re-imagine one of my favorite movie posters, Ocean’s Eleven.
If you’re in Indianpolis on May 10, be sure to check out the hanging show at Big Car.
Designing a poster isn’t as easy as it may appear. Much like designing a logo, we always aim to simplify an idea down to it’s most pure form, removing anything that doesn’t belong. And one of the best ways to do that is to start with a sketch.
So, in what seemed very fitting for the film, my poster design began with a few sketches by Brian K Gray and I, on the back of a few hotel napkins. When I’m sketching, the number one thing I’m trying to flesh out is the visual concept. In this particular case, using the olive spears in a martini glass to spell “11” was at the heart of the concept.
At this point I was ready to bring the concept into Illustrator, to begin work on the scale and shape of the graphic elements. In this phase, you may notice I’m not too concerned about style yet. This is more of an extension of the sketch. Does it work on screen as well as it did on paper? How might the colors work together?
It was starting to work, but after bouncing these ideas off of the Miles Design team, we all agreed the “Ocean’s” type was really feeling a bit awkward.
So where to go for inspiration? Instinctively, I started to reach for my Saul Bass book—if anybody understood simplicity in poster design, it was this guy. And this book is amazing. But when I glanced back at another one of my napkin sketches, the idea had been there all along—taking inspiration from the iconic Las Vegas signage.
Now I was headed back to Illustrator with a little more of a purpose. I flipped back and forth on color a few times, but ultimately landed back on the original color scheme.
Here’s a little detail of the neon-inspired type.
And, here’s the final.
What do you think?