Killer Queens + Horror Stories: Design 2023 New Entries

This week’s new entries take a stylish spin on death and horror, but there’s nothing to be afraid of … except maybe how good this work is!

Carmit Haller is a visual communications designer and the owner of Carmit Design Studio based in Belmont, California. For the past two decades, she has been working as a lead graphic designer in the fields of consumer market, high-tech startups, and luxury real estate though her passion lies in poster design and typography. Heller’s poster submission features the designer’s take on the Shakespearean tragedy “Macbeth” (above, left), which centers around a Scottish general who is told by three witches that he is destined to be the King of Scotland. Goaded by his wife, Macbeth kills the king for his throne and ends up leading the couple down a dark path of corruption, ambition, and guilt.

Haller chose to portray Lady Macbeth as the face of the play, considering she’s just as integral to the plot as Macbeth is: power-hungry and highly calculating, she comes up with the perfect plant to seduce her husband into killing the king to ensure her spot on the throne. Using that aspect of seduction, Heller portrays Lady Macbeth as a beautiful, alluring, and powerful figure. The inclusion of blood on the crown represents both the act of murder and the guilt she carries by the end of the play. The play’s title was created with a thin and angular typeface, with the apex and arms of the letters altered in order to accentuate the conflict of gender dynamics throughout the play. 

Next up is a promotional poster by Graphis Master firm ARSONAL for the FX Show “American Horror Stories” (above, right), an anthology series spin-off of the popular show American Horror Story that follows a different horror story in each episode. Since the first two episodes harken back to the house and rubber man possession from season one of AHS, the client wanted the art to as well, and also show the rubber man’s possession of the girl in a way that would read as creepy instead of silly.

To do this, the agency explored various ways of combining the character in a possessed state with the rubber man emerging out of her and/or intertwining with her. To reference the artwork for season 1, the agency brought the slick, shiny, red latex elements into the background, and also applied those same techniques to the girl, giving her skin a plastic appearance similar to a mannequin. This campaign mirrored the same bold palette and iconography of the season 1 American Horror Story poster and was equally provocative, attracting the original series’ fan base while piquing the interest of new prospective viewers. 

Mystery Road: Origin” is a teaser poster series by Australian design firm ABC Made which takes viewers back to the beginning of one of Australia’s most popular drama series. The neo-Western-crime mystery series is a spin-off from Ivan Sen’s feature films Mystery Road and Goldstone, taking place in-between the two. Indigenous Australian and fan-favorite detective Jay Swan is the main character in both the films and in the two TV series, but for the show’s third season, a new cast will be introduced, with the focus turning onto the early years of Jay Swan with proud Nyikina man Mark Coles Smith cast as young Jay. Alongside a new cast, an exciting new generation of Indigenous filmmakers is charged with bringing the world of a young Jay to life.

This teaser poster series introduces the exciting new young cast taking over the roles of longtime favorite characters. For their approach, the in-house agency created a portrait series that highlighted the Western Australian location and the diverse representation across the ensemble. Each of the posters presents the character’s name in the series’ iconic typography, with a letter of their name enlarged. When looking at the posters together, the letters spell out shows title: Mystery Road. The return of the beloved show is highly anticipated and will premiere on ABC TV and ABC I View later this year.

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Author: Graphis