'Tis the season to be scary so let's explore designs of ghouls, ghosts, and Bloody Mary. Ok, maybe not Bloody Mary, I'm just a sucker for rhymes ;).
Growing up I never trick-or-treated or really participated in Halloween-ish activities. I went to few harvest festivals as a bunch of grapes or a Bible character so you can probably guess the kind of home I grew up in. As an adult though, I've really enjoyed getting all dressed up as different characters like a fairy, Paddington Bear, Pipi Longstocking, Amelia Bedelia, and one year most of my ad agency dressed up as one of our, very hipster, creative directors. With all the fun costumes, festivities, and scary movies though I've always noticed how terribly designed the posters, party invites, décor, etc. actually are. So... in a world where stylish products and sleek marketing are king, why is the pervasive style of Halloween hokey and scary in the worst possible way.
Now, obviously not all Halloween design is bad. There are some beautifully designed horror films, posters, costumes, décor and party invites. In 2001 Target was tired of their typical peppering of bats and ghosts that most retailers don during the season and tasked Werner Design Werks in Saint Paul to help them step up their game and, as we would expect, gain more of the market share. Werner created a retro colored cast of family friendly characters (i.e. not scary) and combined them with varied patterns and graphics. They not only livened up the chain with signage, displays and "haunted" fun house but created everything from pajamas and t-shirts to party décor that was actually tasteful and well designed. Totally cute, totally Halloween, totally not hokey.
On the truly creepy and scary side of Halloween; Hector Guerra with Gravillis Inc. created the poster advertising Sinister II and it is absolutely petrifying in the best way. The movie is the story of 9 year old twin boys being influenced by the evil spirit Bughuul who recruits children to murder their loved ones through ghoulish children terrorizing them with images of slaughtered families.
The evil spirit dripping blood down the wall shows prominently in the center while the two boys looks helpless to the transformation to murderers below it. The head of the second boy captured through time lapse as he transforms from innocent victim to possessed murderer is truly unsettling. The lovely part of this though is the typography that isn't the least bit chintzy. The beautifully set, thin serif slowly degrades at the baseline and the II set as a drawing of the hanging bodies is disturbingly perfect.
Personally, I'm not a fan of scary/horror films but the poster work here is well designed and gives a taste of the horror the film brings. So whether you're a fan of family friendly or truly terrifying Halloween activities, let's take a note from these well concepted and crafted designs so any similar projects you're tasked with aren't just scary, they're scary good.