The Birds: the film that terrorized my childhood | Skillshare Projects

Carl Shura

words + pictures + ideas



The Birds: the film that terrorized my childhood

When I was young, the scariest movies were of course the ones that seemed real. Zombies, aliens, monsters: these had no power over me because I knew how the world worked—these terrors didn't exist outside the imagination. But birds? Birds freaking out for no understandable reason?? Yep: terrifying. 

To make a poster for The Birds, the first important choice was that I wanted to link it to reality with photography. I have this real nice photo which is not in any way scary (unless you saw The Birds as a child and you still have nightmares – *raises hand*)… but regardless, beautiful blue sky isn't necessarily a short-hand cue for talking terror. 

But this is how I started developing the idea: Along with a scribbled out mind-map of feelings and adjectives and objects, I like making the WRONGEST poster possible first, using the elements that I want to end up with. This is that:


Even though I want to use a photograph, the blue is too calm. It's too real as well. I wanted to change the dominant colour and also flatten the plane. Red seems a pretty good choice. I also changed the orientation of the photograph, making it more dynamic; the added colour ramp angled against the movement in the photo helps to activate that diagonal, as well as bring the eye to the bright title at the bottom. There's some tension on the left, as we realize that there are a lot of birds coming. Probably more than we can see so far. 



Red is good for horror—but I decided that the movie is more about terror and nature being turned on its head. So I wanted something still ominous but also exuding an unnatural state: something very uneasy. 
I also thought I should increase the size contrast between the objects and the type to create some more tension.
Another choice I decided on when I changed up the colour was to turn some of the type on its head as well, following with nature seeming out of control.


The size of the birds isn't quite right though, the space between them becoming too vast—and I prefer the earlier arrangement: the diagonal line of the birds is more pronounced and there's better tension at the left edge of the page with so many birds in the distance seeming to be coming onto the page.

So I kept the title placement, colour, grade, and returned to the earlier photo placement.
Odd. Unsettling. Ominous. 

This is the final I've landed on:



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