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Iterum (2014) Key Art Design

Print Campaign Case Study




Encapsulating the complicated.

My thesis film revolves around a girl who journeys to decipher what her "premonitions" mean, and stops at nothing as it blurs the difference between what's true and what isn't.

The film has a very isolated and dark tone, and has themes of mind games and time travel, and is heavily saturated by the motif of internal conflict. In order for the print campaign to be a faithful facade for the movie thematically and aesthetically, it needs to be as cryptic and symbolically layered as the film's premise, while being equally as detailed, dark and intricate as the film itself.


Phase One / The Title Treatment.

The wordmark of the film needs to evoke a sense of distorted perception, which essential to the film's core theme. The final iteration of the logo is rooted from overlapping the word Iterum twice, which symbolizes the two timelines colliding in the movie. Using the typeface Pill Gothic as its base, the overlapping wordmark is manipulated into one, resulting in the "impossible shapes" optical illusion – becoming a nod to the idea of impossibility in the film (the main character "foreseeing the future"). It also is completely outlined, exuding a "blueprint" aesthetic, which connotes a sense of "questioning your identity or sanity", which also is a theme of my thesis film.

The final (animated) result:

The logo was animated in After Effects, using the Illustrator file of the title treatment. The 'shifting perspectives' as the logo animates is reflective of the protagonist's journey in the film.


Phase Two / Key Art Concepts

The initial idea was to go the "cryptic / symbolic" route. It'll be illustration-heavy – no photographs or scene screen grabs – nothing but lines and shapes. As far as symbolism goes in the film, one of the more visual cues that offer breadcrumbs of clues within the story is the wrist watch that the protagonist is (or isn't) wearing. Using the watch as a visual for the concept, the next step was to create a maze out of the watch / hourlgass to further utilize the illustrative aesthetic of the poster series, and establish the relationship between the title treatment and the imagery. The combination of the watch and maze nods to the time travel/race against time and puzzle-solving atmosphere of the film.   

The Deja-vu Maze

The hourglass maze is special: the top and bottom of the hourglass mirror each other and are the exact same. It is to portray the eerie familiarity as experienced by people who've encountered deja vu's and premonitions – so if a person were to actually do the maze, upon arriving in the midle, he/she would have been "Wait....I've been here before..." – a line taken directly from the movie.

Rough first iteration of the print campaign:


Phase Three / Cognitio Rerum

Cognitio rerum, or "a realization" in English. I had one after a few iterations of the maze posters. I realized that the key art, in which the campaign revolves around, is rooted on, and what serves as the facade for the film, NEEDS TO BE more organic. Sure, the maze posters could be cool giveaways if this film was a big budget Hollywood project that sees a Comic-Con appearance. But the film, while dark, cryptic, and semi sinister in tone, is also organic, full of humanity, and character development. So in short, I didn't sell out, but I decided to have the lead actress be in the key art campaign.

Idea One: double exposure photograpy. 

The film embodies (spoiler alert!) two timelines converging, and an internal conflict within the corners of the protagonist's mind. A double exposure photography to depict two imageries in one seems very fitting. (Photograph above by Lawrence Winram)

Idea Two: Sketching The Sundial concept

The second concept is a combination of photography and initial illustration-driven clock maze idea. As seen in my sketch above, the main character is standing in the middle of a sundial, and she casts a shadow. However, her shadow seems to deviate from her actual body position/clothing; she wears a hat and has her hair down but her shadow has her hair up in a bun. This is because in the premonitions she's having, she sees herself wearing a bun. Boom!

Photoshoot with the lead actress: The photos were shot by the very talented gent I get to call my friend Garrett Peck, under my creative direction. 


Final Result

The plan at first was just to have two posters that are aesthetically illustration-heavy. Somewhere along the way the plan changed to having 2 sets of two – two illustration ones and two photographic ones. At the end, with the creative mentorship of my thesis professor, it came down to just having the two photography ones – the final two ended up being stronger graphically, composition-wise, especially when it came to being a representative of the film. (Scroll down for the XL posters).


The official one sheet (to the left) portrays the internal conflicts the protagnist is having. It also teases the two timeline narrative of the film. Moreover, the way her right hand "seems" to be strangling her neck is a clue-in to the conclusion of the film: all along, she's the one that caused all the pain she's experiencing. In the secondary poster to the right, it's her standing on a sundial, yet her shadow is depicting something else; it literally is "foreshadowing" the events soon to come.


XL Posters

Using Format