Ow, my eyes! Could this be the ugliest lettering ever seen on a movie poster? The Bling Ring is Sofia Coppola’s latest film, starring Emma Watson as the ringleader of a bunch of fame-obsessed teens who burgle the houses of Hollywood celebrities. From a design point of view, this is promising material: after the definite article, we have two short alliterative words to work with – BLING and RING. Surely, with this title and subject matter, a modicum of razzle-dazzle would be not just permissible, but urgently required to evoke the lure of the glittering celeb lifestyle…
Please click on the poster to read more…
I debated whether to try and back up my wittering by mentioning in the piece that I have a BA Honours degree in Graphic Design from Central School of Art & Design (ie before it merged with St Martin’s) but in the end decided it would have sounded too much like bragging. (Whereas mentioning it here on my blog, of course, is nothing of the kind.) In other words, I trained as a designer and studied typography, typesetting and printing – Hot Metal, naturally, which as you can imagine has stood me in enormously good stead since the print revolution of the 1980s.
And just to make sure it wasn’t just me, I asked some friends who have worked as professional designers for nearly 40 years for their opinions on The Bling Ring poster – and they all agreed it was horrible.
But I think it’s also worth mentioning that two of my fellow film writers at the Telegraph – Robbie Collins and Tim Robey – disagree with me, and (though they both kindly said they enjoyed my piece) think the poster’s fine. Robbie tweeted:
Love it. Brash and carefree. I suspect that font’s going to start turning up everywhere, like Futura after The Social Network.
And Tim tweeted:
She’s definitely going for crowded-on-purpose. I don’t know. It has energy. I kind of like it?
the offensiveness of it is a deliberate poke in the face.
Whatever a “right” typeface is, you can be fairly sure the SCs of this world will reject it.
I’d been hoping the piece would spark a lively debate about poster typography. It failed to materialise in the Telegraph‘s comments section, but I was pleased to see Twitter stepping into the breach.
EDITED TO ADD:
I much prefer the French poster. Maybe it’s the yellow. Typeface is still ugly, but the whole thing is a lot zingier.
- ‘The Bling Ring’ Trailer: Sofia Coppola Enables Emma Watson’s Wild Side (slashfilm.com)
- ‘The Bling Ring’ Poster Makes No Sense (reellifewithjane.com)
- Movie Posters and Typography (kbaileyblog.wordpress.com)
- Collection of Movie Poster Clichés (geektyrant.com)