Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla is an Australian Black Comedy/Drama about a lonely ice-cream van driver, Warren Thompson, and his unhealthy obsession with television soap starlet, Katey George.
Designing a film poster for a film set in the real world and based around sort of (semi) normal subject matter becomes a different and more often i find bigger challenge than say a horror film, where usually you get this powerful fantasy visual hook to begin with (monsters, zombies etc are provided!). So to build that same impact out of everyday imagery sometimes requires more of an intense design process to help create the entertainment factor and convey all the dramatic of funny twists to of the story. As opposed to working up a pile of monsters or a few painted faces
Theres no iconic character to fall back on, to put it another way… Jason is going to look cool regardless of what you do with him!. So every time i do work on one of these i get more and more respect for people like Drew Struzan who mainly worked in the comedy/drama genre and created such iconic and entertaining imagery out of some simple subject matter.
Anyway back to the design! We wanted to show the deterioration of the story, (the darker side to ice cream sales!) and did this by taking the fun bright colour pallet usually associated with ice cream but just making it shitty! This is clearly reflected in the title design with the Clichéd type style but made all warped, dripping, cracked and dirty.
When working out the composition i liked the idea from the start of Warren holing out this big melting ice cream, it looked tasty and fun but really sad under it all. Rather than depicting the character straight, it was Stuart (the director) who favored the use of him in full collapse mode with dirty face, shaved eyebrows, hair and mustache. Which did create a more arresting image and you also get a flash of him like this at the start of the film so its not giving away too much plot spoilers.
Then the Van was always going to play a big part, and making it look as rusty and grimey as possible to show the darker edge. With the main character central, i built all the elements surrounding him as sort of portraying this journey through his mental state and wrapped it all up with the ocean of ice cream! as it was a fun way of drawing all the elements together. So we see perfect angelic beauty of the soap star (how his imagination has created her), then getting threatened (down trodden), dead cat, my little TV diorama of self pleasure! depicting this obsession for the soap star, burial and western shootout (fantasy).
For the poster framework i played around with a couple of routes, setting it in a more classic poster style design, but i like the idea of treating the whole surround as the ice cream vans window. using the van graphics that are all worn and the bright colours but then really piling on the rust, which speaks volumes for the films story. Kudos to Stuart for going with it too because the original mock ups with everything going on looked (i felt) quite rough, i knew it was going to come together in the end but convincing people can be tricky and i’m glad he saw that too!
For this design i also merged more photoshop treatments with the surround being all photographic and the central montage being illustrated. it Sort of bringing the classic poster montage up-to date more for the film.