Cinema Admits All

Pray for the New Spiderhouse Design

29/10/2009
Pray for the New Spiderhouse Design

It's been languishing in development hell as the recent workload has been enormous, but it's finally online!

There's still some more content to be added, like trailers and artwork, and it needs a little finessing but it's pretty much all here.

I've been researching film posters for a while with the aim of designing them for our own projects. I really loved the old 70's classics from studios like Fox and and Paramount. One that really caught my eye was the poster for Rosemary's Baby (1968) by Stephen Frankfurt.

It's this poster which was a source of much inspiration for the new look of the website, and it's no surprise it captured my imagination, being designed by a man schooled by William Bernbach, a mammoth figure in the history of advertising whose innovative approaches created a revolution in the 1960's.

Motivated Design

Rosemary's Baby Poster - Design by Stephen Frankfurt, Courtesy of the Andrew Macdonald Collection

I love the mixing of photographic elements, the simple, singular green colour scheme, the tone it conveys (which marries to the film so well).

Frankfurt deliberately didn't want to show the baby, and wanted a "less-is-more approach". The carriage sits atop a rock on Central Park, near the apartment building where the film is set.

"Bill Bernbach, used to say that emotion was the first step to persuasion." Stephen Frankfurt

His tagline and advertising approach were similarly inspiring. He took out advertising slots in the birth announcement section of newspapers and used the phrase 'Pray for Rosemary's Baby'.

Did I mention this guy was an advertising genius?

Learning to Unlearn

He also echoes one of my strongest feelings about design and film: "the most important thing is to think with your heart, not with your head". He understood the need to feel your way through something, instead of blindly intellectualising.

Star Wars fan boys would prefer me to say 'Use the Force'.

Click to see the title sequence in more detail.

Incidentally, Stephen Frankfurt also designed the wonderful titles for To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) (where producer Alan J Pakula specifically sought him out due to his experience advertising brands like Jell-O and Johnson & Johnson) and Network (1976) as well creating as another favourite poster of mine, 1979's Alien.

Alien (1979) Poster - Design by Stephen Frankfurt, Courtesy of the Reel Poster Gallery

The tag 'In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream' is also his.

It was an attempt to incite genuine intrigue and interest within potential movie goers. We need much more of this attitude in modern cinema.

We're constantly bombarded by meaningless, shallow, shiny imagery for films, which mean absolutely nothing. Just the same old flavours heaped out onto the plate.

However, that's a rant for another day.

Getting it Together

I tried to pull some of the colour and simplicity into the site, as well as making the content appear as pinned posters on a wall.

I wanted to give a sense of passion, the idea of a discerning collector adorning their walls with icons they admire, of images which dredge young ideas from the deeps of our minds.

Hopefully it will last us some time, let me know what you think.

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Spiderhouse Productions Ltd
Mike J Hadfield
Look and code by Volicol