Bishop’s Stortford College recently asked Right Angle to design the poster & DVD cover for their new film version of Shakespeares ‘Romeo & Juliet’.

The brief stated that the film was not to be a costume drama but, set in modern times. The cast were all to be dressed in black, all scenes were to be shot against a plain black backdrop and the film was to feature some time lapse photography of a rose to illustrate R&J’s short yet beautiful life and love.

We borrowed the atmospheric black background from the film, transformed the ampersand into a heart symbol, the words ‘romeo’ and ‘juliet’ became an arrow piercing the heart. The blood symbolised the iconic dagger scene and the droplets formed a heart shaped pool at the base of the poster.

Getting to the finished poster solution, however was not as straight forward as it might have been.

Firstly we scribbled down a few ideas for a logo / symbol…

…then set off in search of the elusive typeface.

A typeface can completely change the look & feel of symbols & logo’s. On this occasion we preferred the ‘R’ and ‘J’ of ‘Trajan Pro’, a traditional typeface with distinct chiseled serifs, however the ampersand of ‘Trajan Pro’ wasn’t right for the heart shape we were looking for.

After trawling through the world of ampersands (and there are some absolute beauties out there), the closest one was ‘Perpetua Titling’, but it still wasn’t exactly right for our heart shape. We also tried a couple of ideas using a dagger, but preferred the purer typographic approach.

Adding a droplet of blood and the words ‘romeo’ and ‘juliet’ becoming an arrow through the heart was beginning to give us something strong, memorable and relevant, but the ampersand heart still wasn’t right… Time to draw one of our own!…

We took a Perpetua Titling ampersand, turned it onto its side, rounded off the base serif, re-drew the right hand side to balance with the left and moved the remaining serif to the centre to give us a newly formed ‘heart’ shape.

Once the typeface/heart issue had been resolved, the rest fell into place. We added the rose, poster text and the pool of blood at the base, then reformatted the elements to fit the DVD cover. All in good time for the film editor to add it to the title sequence and then, off we set for the premiere!.. The film, by the way was absolutely excellent, featuring more than a few future oscar winners in the making!

“What’s in a font? That which we call a typeface by any other name would appear as sweet”
– NOT William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, 2.2