2 minute read

psycho movie poster redesign

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in “The Bigger Picture Show,” a fundraiser for the Indianapolis International Film Festival and a chance for local designers to take a stab at redesigning classic movie posters.

Each designer had the opportunity to request a few of their top choices. I was awarded Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller, Psycho.

The interesting back-story of Psycho is that although long-time Hitchcock collaborator, Saul Bass, participated in design of the film credits and even sketched and art directed the famous shower scene, I found conflicting reports as to whether the movie poster was indeed designed by Saul Bass. To me the original poster does feel Bass-inspired but not typical of his highly graphic poster style.

It was a tall task, but my self-directed goal in redesigning this movie poster was not only to be true to the film, but also to think about how Saul Bass might have designed it. Additionally, I wanted the final production to be something that could have been created with the tools available in 1960.

Bass used strong horizontal and vertical lines in his title sequence for Psycho and also had a strong sense of lines and direction in his sketches. So, with no shortage of inspiration, I started sketching as well. For me, sketching isn’t so much about coming to a final design solution as much as it is an exercise in defining a concept.

You may notice my final sketch is very representative of where I went with the final design. As the knife interrupts the lines of the shower, they turn red. Although I originally planned to have fanned out lines coming from a shower head, our design team helped me simplify this concept down to vertical, parallel lines, which were more in keeping with the Saul Bass art direction. Here’s the final poster design and homage to Saul Bass:

If you haven’t seen the film, be sure to add it to your list. At over fifty-years-old, it’s still a thriller. And if you haven’t been to “The Bigger Picture Show,” be sure to check it out next year. I’m already looking forward to participating again.

What do you think of the final design? Let me know your thoughts.