As a design agency specialising in original film posters, we create key art that would make any producer proud. This includes posters for films still at script stage, like the Gerard Butler led The Vanishing – originally known as Keepers.
Protagonist Pictures asked us to work on Keepers, having worked with us multiple titles before. With numerous successes under their belt, (The Souvenir, Kill List, The Lobster), Protagonist was aiming for The Vanishing / Keepers to be a hit on the film festival circuit and beyond.
The film follows two lighthouse keepers who discover a hoard of treasure washed up on their small rocky outpost. An atmospheric drama, Keepers had great named talent attached in Gerard Butler and Peter Mullan, and needed artwork to match its intentions.
With Keepers still at in pre produciton we wouldn’t have any images of the stars cleared for use, which meant being creative. The brief was straightforward: create something moody and minimalistic with a hint of threat to it. It should encapsulate the desolate outpost, mimicking the isolation and danger that the lighthouse keepers found themselves in.
The first round of designs concentrated on photorealistic imagery experimenting with stormy weather against the lighthouse and sea. Included in these were hints of danger and splashes of blood with people being chased to convey the thriller side of the film.
We gave Protagonist 7-8 different options along this path – all built using stock images that we manipulated.
In the second round of designs Protagonist asked us to also explore an illustrative route of deisgns. One suggestion was to look at a style reminiscent of Saul Bass (designer of posters for The Shining, and Vertigo).
Creative Design Collaboration
Having worked closely with illustrator Sarah Jones for many years, we asked her to collaborate on the next round.
Sarah experimented with various lighthouses, rocky outcrops, jagged cliffs, and silhouetted people. Taking her drawings we overlaid them with different effects, backgrounds, and an array of colours find the right balance.
Eventually, after several back and forths with Protagonist we settled on a final arrangement using reds with hinttexture, and added a fishing boat into the foreground.
Loved by both the sales agents and film’s makers, the final piece was used throughout filming, initial sales, and early festival submissions.
Evolution and Beyond
On release the film saw a name change to The Vanishing and the distribution companies in various countries altered the marketing style and artwork to suit each territory. Many new posters were created, with several following the ‘big head in the sky’ route to showcase the leads as a main selling point.
A common theme in these posters is the colour and tone – similar to those initial suggested for the teaser poster.
Understanding a posters life cycle, and how needs can change across different platforms and territories is vital to planning your films lifetime marketing strategy, and is essential to progress your sales? Need a creative design agency who can hep and have worked on all the stages of a films marketing? Contact us and we can talk key art and all your marketing needs.