Monday Music Covers: Chris Brown is Insecure

Rating: 0 /5

Anyone that knows me, knows I despise Chris Brown. It really bothers me when people say that he hit Rihanna, when he really beat her to a pulp. In an interview with Mtv Rihanna described Chris Brown as “insecure” and “controlling”. You can definitely see those characteristics, and many others including narcissism and a desire for respect, in how he chose to represent himself through his album cover for ‘F.A.M.E.’. The deliberately ambiguous title supposedly stands for both Fans Are My Everything or Forgiving All My Enemies.

The cover is made to look like a hand painted mural, with Chris Brown’s face repeated over 30 times. The spray-paint-style logo looks so cheesy and the drips off the F.A.M.E. looks more like a Halloween font, than anything a street artist would do. The clown motif is a direct lift from Banksy. In fact, the whole cover has a Banksy rip-off about it.

The colours are definitely lifted from hip hop covers from the 1990s, such as  Ghostface Killah’s ‘Ironman’. This shows he is trying to affiliate himself with the hip hop world, and less with the pop world. Chris Brown is a manufactured pop star, with his only quality linking him to the hip hop world being his objectification and disrespect for woman. His first video for “Run It” shows his dancing around some school sports hall, not dissimilar to Justin Bieber. He is clearly insecure about this. Chris, you’ll never have the passion of Tribe Called Quest or intelligence of Jay Z. Please just quit now.

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When Average Movies Get Amazing Posters: The Girlfriend Experience

Saw this at a preview at the Edinburgh Film festival all the way back in … Movie didn’t actually make a huge impression, though I hated it less than most viewers and critics, the poster comes to mind much quicker and clearer than any of the dialogue…

Don’t like that her name is there, not enough separation and makes you think her name is part of the title. And it’s not surprisingly in the slightest that her mouth is open in that salacious manner. Other than that, the poster is wonderful.  I love the swathe of red and grey dots and how they create this great optical illusion. The bar code at the bottom, supposedly a common on buying and selling sex (or in this case “the girlfriend experience) I know I shouldn’t like the “see it with someone you *****” bit, but I kinda love it.

What the font? The Two Most Common Typefaces in Film Posters

It seems to me that there are basically only two fonts used in movie posters. If it needs a san-serif, it’s Helvetica. If it’s serif, it’s most likely Trajan. It appears over and over again.I guess Helvetica just gets used for the same reason it’s used in everything else: it’s so ubiquitous that it simultaneously means nothing and everything. It has only began appearing frequently in the last 10 years.  Trajan was first used in historical epics, but now seems to be used to add grandeur to  just about anything..

Here we go, Helvetica:

Take it away, Trajan:


Are the graphic designers of movie posters just lazy? Probably not. When you look online at all the alternative movie posters, clearly there’s a lot of creative talent out there and a desire to make more usual. Perhaps movie studios simply want more traditional posters in the same vein of everything else – just to be safe – since the investment in a movie is so huge and they don’t want to take risks..

Check out this hilarious video about Trajan by Goodie bag.

The Music and Art Live the On: Gerard Smith’s Tragic Death

I was very saddened this morning to learn of Gerard Smith’s death. He was only 34. Smith was the bassist for the band TV on the Radio and an incredibly gifted musician.

It’s strange how the news changed the context of the cover for me and how poignant, lonely and empty the imagery appears now… The album art’s beauty speaks for itself. Sadly, medical science could not save Gerard, but his music and this artwork will live on as a testament to his life and talent.

Monday Movie Review: Conan the Barbarian 3D

Rating: ** / 5

When I first saw that there was a Conan movie coming out, I got all excited thinking the Conan O’Brien documentary that premiered at SxSW was actually a 3D feature film.. Alas, no such luck. Conan the Barbarian 3D is a remake of the 80s movie staring Arnold Schwarzenegger. What? A remake you say? It’s almost hard to believe in a movie industry so full of original content..

So what does the movie poster lead us to expect? Well, death certainly. Lots and lots of death. Everything in the poster is high contrast, exaggerated to the point of looking strange.. It seems the main goal of this poster is to remind you that it is a 3D movie. And because of this,  I anticipate a lot severed heads, blood splattering and skulls flying across the screen.

The colors remind me a lot of The Mummy poster from years back. In fact, this movie looks a mixture of every 3D action movie of the last while: 300, Prince of Persia, … I’d say it’ll be incredibly cheesy, everyone will be half naked and there will be very little story. See it with a big group and sneak rum into your cinema Coke.

Never forget…

Saturday Shelves: Celebrities Sell Books

The Barnes and Noble new book list is depressing… Not only are TV and movie actresses the only people getting book deals anymore, well, I guess their ghost writer technically also get a book deal, they are now the only authority on cooking and “family”/”togetherness”/”wholesomeness”/”love”/”lovinglivingmyorganiclifestyle”.

Cookbooks used to feature food on the cover.. Just notice the amount of emphasis placed on actual food on the cover of Gwyneth Platrow and Eva Longoria’s books – their trim celebrity bodies take up 60% the cover, whereas the food is demoted to about 10% . Both seem to be specializing in generic carbohydrate dishes (Noodles for Eva, pasta for Gwyneth) with some unused lemons and basil placed beside it. It must be completely disheartening for a struggling writer or chef to see that the quickest way to come successful in their field is to appear in episodes of Glee or Desperate Housewives. I’m not saying these books are terrible – I haven’t read any of them – but can we please stop the ridiculous belief that because someone is famous they are able to do anything.

Friendly serifs are the typeface of choice, presumably to make it look a little more traditional and old-timely.. I’m actually surprised the kitchens are as modern as they are, I thought they’d be playing up the little country kitchen vibe a bit more.

I realise that as chefs like Jamie Oliver and Rachael Ray become celebrities in their own right, they also feature more prominently on their covers. But they were also just chefs at some point and have a large amount of knowledge in their field. Please everyone, buy a cookbook from someone who actual studied culinary arts, not just someone who has been able to afford a nutritionist for most of the movie career.

Featured Design Company: Colossal Media and Sky High Murals

Have you ever wondered who does the incredible, hand painted billboards on Park Avenue near 23rd Street? Well, I certainly had so after a little bit of googling D-Crit‘s very own Steve Heller provided the answer on one of his older posts for imprint magazine. The answer is: Colossal Media and Sky High Murals, two divisions in the same company. They are the nation’s largest company that specialize in high-impact, hand-painted wallscapes.

The first billboard I saw was way back in August for the movie ‘Inception’. It completely took my breath away. Since then I’ve loved and hated the later billboards – I didn’t appreciate seeing Russell Brand’s smug smile painted 10 metres long – but I guess that’s not their decision! There work also pops up a lot in Williamsburg, particularly at North 6th and Bedford Avenue.

There was a documentrary called “Up There” that I highly recommend watching, even if there is a slightly overt commercial overtone with the constant references to Stella Artois.

It’s great that a company that is specialized has managed to survive through difficult economic times. I suspect there aren’t too many cities where they could so I’m glad they’re based in NYC! The work looks exciting, dangerous and incredibly detailed. I salute these brave men and women! Keep up the good work! Check out  colossalmedia.net  for more