Claire Harper

designer / maker / creator

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2

The Thin Red Line

I started off by researching the plot, characters, and setting of "The Thin Red Line," as well as watching the trailer a couple of times, to collect visual and mental awareness of the overarching themes. I was particularly struck by the literary reference made in the title to a quote ("the thin red line that divides the living from the dead, the sane from the mad"). 

I came up with a list of words that seemed a good representation of the movie, including: confusion, patriarchy, existential, doubt, division, futility, tropical, loss of innocence, heirarchy, madness, loss, childlike, ware, remote, alone, marooned.

I drew a few loose sketches that played with a sharp juxtaposition between the hard shape of gun and the organic shapes of jungle foliage (a delineation between nature and man), the placement of the movie title inside the shape of an army helmet, and the text where the eyes of a soldier should be. 

The first sketch I worked on was the idea of the outline of an anonymous soldier. 

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I chose earthtones to bring in the army and the jungle, but I wasn't totally sold on the poster as a whole. I then tried to work on the helmet idea, but the placement of the text wasn't working very well. It was reading too flat. 

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I took a break for the evening and talked it over with my dad, who suggested having a bullet flying through the jungle on a thin red line. This seemed like a great idea - it brings action into the poster in a way that my ideas weren't, and complimented my earlier idea of the gun vs. foliage.

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I'm not sure about the bullet - it looks a little too phallic and I'm not sure if it should be more dimensional to contrast more heavily with the foliage. I do like that it blends into the dark background, though. The colors may need to be cooled and desaturated a bit, since the mood should be somber and ominous. Could anyone give me resources for choosing typefaces? I've studied Ellen's fantastic book on type design but I'm still unsure about making type choices for my designs.

I then went back and tweaked the original design, and I think it's a bit more successful:

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