Stoned in the Sixties
Select a director and develop a film festival that celebrates a small number of their works united by a common theme. Acting as a full-service agency, plan the event (location selection and programming) and design a complete visual communications campaign, including brand identity, posters, catalog, consumer products and all relevant ephemera (tickets, program, schedule).
STONED IN THE SIXTIES is a film festival that celebrates director Oliver Stone’s personal and political vision of this revolutionary decade. From Kennedy’s assassination to Watergate, the festival contrasts Stone’s own loss of innocence with America’s historic fall from grace. Deliverables include a poster series, DVD boxset packaging, program guide, commemorative retrospective book, souvenir ephemera and collectibles.
Identity + Mark | Illustration | Photography | Packaging | Editorial Design + Layout | Copy Writing + Editing
Oliver Stone is one of my favorite American film directors, but I’m not that keen on all his work. What resonates most in my mind are the six films which touch upon the 1960s: JFK (1991), PLATOON (1986), THE DOORS (1991), BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY (1989), HEAVEN & EARTH (1993), and NIXON (1995). Although they were conceived and produced in a different order, I chose to present them by story chronology. In this way a personal and passionate portrait of both Oliver Stone the young man and the American youth generation emerges.
My approach in capturing the spirit of the times was to mix metaphors. Stone shipped off to the war in Vietnam a child of the establishment and returned home a rebel. The war—not the protests against it—had radicalized him.
I combined the counterculture’s vibrant tie-dye color palette with classic establishment photojournalism images of the day to emphasize this contradiction.
The poster series depicts the real life subject of each film: President John F. Kennedy, an American G.I in Vietnam, Jim Morrison, Ron Kovic, President Richard Nixon, and a Vietnamese peasant woman.
The background of each poster puts the subject in context; the Texas Book Depository looms behind Kennedy, bombs rain down on Vietnam behind Nixon.
All festival materials are issued in a U.S. Army messenger bag. Custom dog tags are used as identification for re-entry.
My Criterion Collection DVD set re-orders the six films of Stoned in the Sixties according to historical (rather than release) chronology.
I chose a single-package solution to emphasize that they be viewed in sequence as a complete body of work. The individually numbered, limited edition set comes housed inside an actual Army surplus ammunition box.
Using the war in Vietnam as a metaphor, I ‘drafted’ attendees into the film festival. The ticket designs are based on authentic Selective Service induction papers. Materials such as olive canvas and wire-bound field notebooks, commonplace in the military, reflect Stone’s tours of duty.
I chose type that mixed establishment with counterculture. Frere-Jones’ Garage Gothic provided the weight of broadside posters used to promote popular rock concerts. I then combined this with elements common to the United States military, such as typewritten text (Erik van Blokland’s Trixie for FontFont) and munitions stencil stamping (L Regular, which I customized).
The project also included copious amounts of copy for the reader to pour over, so the more expressive typography needed to be countered by a very sensible and contemporary body face. I chose Spiekermann’s ubiquitous Meta because of the marked contrast it provided and for its excellent readability at even the smallest point sizes.
The concept here was hippies and soldiers thrown together in a blender. Taking a cue from promotional rock concert posters, I reduced my palette to the offset printing builds of cyan, magenta and black and then pulled each hue a bit drabber. To this I added a US Army olive. I chose natural as opposed to bright white paper to print all materials, suggesting the cheaper mass printing that would have been available. Hand-rendered foxing accents the pages of the notebooks, tickets and other ephemera.