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Monday, April 4, 2011

Embrace Your Vices - Hero Props

When making low budget movies it's a constant struggle to avoid logos and brands of existing products. Everything these days seems to be a walking advertisement for something. So I always enjoy it when a director puts in the extra effort into the details, and makes the products in their film unique and part of the world they are creating.

First things first: this film needed booze. My custom bottle labels have been popular among film-folks and gift-givers alike, so I've pretty much got my system down to a science. The trick of course is finding the right bottle. Luckily I have a "cool bottle" shelf in my workshop, right underneath the "boxes filled with small things I don't know what they do" ledge.

From old to new in seconds, that's the power of Oxyclean!

Handy Tip:
Never underestimate the possibility to screw up simple things.
Always print two of each label.

Next on the list were cigarettes.

Now I'm probably the last person to know anything about cigarettes, and I can't stand smoking for plenty of reasons. But there is one thing I now can't deny... cigarette packaging is wicked cool. Seriously. I'd never touched a pack in my life before this project so I had no idea, but these things have had the ever-living-daylights designed out of them! Up to the pop-top box and down to the shiny branded foil on the inside. Cinematically awesome.

So after I had had my first smoke shop experience (the guy gave me a funny look when I had to keep checking my list to remember what brands and numbers I was supposed to be getting. I know, I'm a nerd) it was time to get down to business.

Since I was short on time I decided not to do this from scratch, but instead just modify some existing packs. Also, this way all them would be full.

Ha HA! Take that movies, I'm a Blog!
I don't have to worry about showing brands.


For the most part the director let my imagination run wild, but he did have some specific design and style elements he wanted incorporated in the branding. Menthol or not, length, box size... I had no idea there were this many options!

Useing the powers of my constant nemesis, mathematics, I reverse engineered the various boxes and created a template in Photoshop and designed the brands. I decided to do a couple test boxes with papercaft before I did any modifying.

Don't worry, we can rebuild him. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.

After the final designs were approved by the director and art director, the designs were printed onto sticky paper and cut.

Then it on to the nail biting process of putting it all together. Because I wanted it to be as seamless as possible the label was only cut into two parts. Once I started, there was no going back.

Phew, only four more to go.

In conclusion: had a blast designing these. Definitely hope I get to do more in the future.


Be sure to check out the Flickr Photostream to see more detail shots! : http://www.flickr.com/photos/matthewelium/

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