April 19th, 2011

Viktor Hertz and The Noun Project

We caught up with the designer of the wildly popular pictogram movie posters, Victor Hertz, and asked him a few questions.  

What is you favorite symbol on our site and why?

Oh my god. I feel like a little child in a candy store. There are so many good. I should mention the symbol for ‘wi-fi’, since I have made a couple of illustrations with that one. It’s just a great image to use as a foundation, everybody knows it and it’s easy to replace the shapes with others. I also have a new favorite in the more recently pictogram for ‘internal medicine’, I think I will use that one for something pretty soon. I love silhouettes and cross sections, there are so many things you can do with those. The one for ‘unisex’, with the man and the woman, is of course also a personal favorite. I’ve used it for ‘Psycho’ and ‘Lolita’ and I’m sure I will find a way to use it again, somehow. Now, it’s like whenever I see it in real life, I can only think of the missing knife and the shower, it just feels incomplete. : )

How did you get the idea to do pictogram movie posters?

I’ve always been a huge movie buff, and also studied film theory a couple of years ago. Since I started doing graphic design, about two years ago, I’ve been fascinated by simple symbols like pictograms, how they communicate something in a clean and simple way. I love strong and well-known images and shapes, and also to remix these and make something new with it. It’s like an easy way to communicate your own ideas, to use famous symbols and tweak them to express something else. This is how the series with the pictogram movie posters started, I guess. I wanted to make it simple, although with a clever twist, like a visual pun. Vector based pictograms are the perfect material for me, mainly because I’m quite bad at free hand drawing, but I really love the ability to change shapes very easily, just with a few clicks, and then get a completely new image. It was also nice to decide to use a fixed template for this series, and be able to concentrate on the images. This way I could be quite productive, without having decisions for typography and colors to make. Really satisfying to just focus on the pictograms and try to get good and clever ideas. This may sound a bit made up, but The Noun Project was also a great inspirational source for this idea. I don’t really remember exactly when the idea for making these posters came, but it surely was when sitting and staring at pictograms at some point.

How did you choose which movies to work with, are these your favorite movies?

Some of them are my personal favorite movies, like ‘One flew over…’ or ‘There will be
blood’, but far from all of them are films that I love. It’s easy to get a bit snobby and only do classic cult films when it comes to making custom movie posters; it’s like being afraid that people will think you’re a big fan of ‘Sex and the city’ or ‘Devil’ (haven’t even seen that one, actually) for example. I don’t think a bit about these things, if I think my idea of a fun image will fit with a film, whatever this might be, I go for it. The important thing is that the idea is good and that it somehow communicates the film’s theme in some way. It usually starts with looking at lots of images and pictograms, and try to come up with a way to change them or combine them with other shapes and then produce something new, with a completely new message. Sometimes it could also start with wanting to do a poster for a certain film, like my last one for ‘Inglourious Basterds’, for example. I re-watched it recently and really wanted to try to make a good poster for it. So, some of the posters are closer to my heart than others.

What is your favorite movie poster you have created and why?

What a tough question, there are just so many of them! Just kidding. Among the pictogram posters, I like the ones that use different pictograms in a clever way, like ‘Up in the air’ or the ones who are just a little bit tweaked or changed, like ‘Sunshine’or ‘Fahrenheit 451’. There is a couple that I now find a bit sloppy and I almost regret doing them, but what the hell. Among my other, non-pictogram posters, I think some of my best are ‘Coffee and cigarettes’ and more recently ‘Wall Street’. I’m really happy with both of these, they are simple and based on strong ideas, that don’t really need to be fancy looking and visually perfect. It seems like ‘Coffee and cigarettes’ is the one most liked by others, as well, and it just proofs that we admire the most simple images,that somehow is built on a clever and fun idea. I have read comments that say it’s one of those ‘Why didn’t I think of that before?-images’. That’s the best compliment I could possibly get. I guess I want them to be like a really good hit song, that you feel you’ve heard before, but you haven’t. It should just get to your heart and stomach in an instant,

To see more pictogram posters visit here.

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