Blu-Ray artwork for Carlotta Films
I woke up one morning last October with a big smile on my face. Why? Because there was an e-mail from the French video label Carlotta Films in my inbox waiting for me. They wanted to know if I would be interested in designing artwork for their upcoming release of Phase IV. Naturally I jumped at the chance! Phase IV is a 1974 science fiction thriller and is notable for being the only film directed by design legend Saul Bass. You can read more about the film here.
My first order of business was to watch the film. It's a bit out there but there's so much wonderful, abstract imagery to play with. I jotted down time codes and took screenshots afterwards. Additionally, I researched every piece of Phase IV ephemera I could think of, including the Waxwork vinyl album (beautifully designed by Kilian Eng), the La-La Land Records CD (art directed by Dan Goldwasser), and the bare-bones Olive Films Blu-Ray released in the US in 2015. The Carlotta producers did not want a Saul Bass-style solution.
I knew I wanted to use a vintage specimen sheet. A fellow designer recommended the work of Ernst Haeckel but after looking at Haeckel's work, it was clear he mainly focused on aquatic creatures. Thankfully I found a treasure trove of material online at the Biodiversity Heritage Library. On an auction site, I found rejected comps by Walter Glinka which were featured in the Waxwork package.
The First Pass
I must say I had a lot of fun with this, including re-creating some of the shots seen above using a combination of Illustrator and stock material in Photoshop. Fonts are listed underneath each image.
The Carlotta producers chose number 2, which they felt was the most powerful and had a nice 70s flavor. They also wanted to see how it would look with all the different typefaces used above... Lazenby Computer Smooth won out, minus the scan lines. I believe it's one of many variations of a typeface called Westminster.
I'm delighted with how this turned out! I'm grateful to Carlotta Films for the opportunity. They also include the designer's logo or signature on each package... so something I came up with in my last semester of school is now immortalized. There will be a short bio on the back cover as well. I also supplied Carlotta with the un-cropped Illustrator artwork... from that, they've made buttons!