drive my vhs (design assignment i)

As soon as I saw this assignment, I knew it was something that I wanted to do. The only challenge was finding a suitable film from the post-2005 era. I chose a movie that I want to, but have not yet watched. I’m debating going for something that I’ve already seen, but this movie was too perfect not to pick, as it encapsulates the time period, especially considering the bright red 80s car it features. Though it takes place in modern times it is very nostalgic and definitely could have been a movie from the 80s, or later in the VHS era. The soundtrack was even released on cassette, in a fitting bright red color.

picture via Discogs

Because I have yet to watch the film, the only details I know about it from reading summaries and watching the trailer. The movie follows an actor who seeks a driver for his car after losing his license. His mechanic recommends a young woman, and he is at first taken aback, hesitant to allow her to drive his car. Despite this, the two form a close bond, in a reflective film about loss. The short story (not unlike other Haruki Murakami stories and novels) is named after a Beatles song.

If you are interested in finding out more about this movie, I recommend watching the trailer on YouTube below:

Though I have not watched the movie yet, I think that after this assignment I am obligated to, in addition to recommending that you also watch it. I cannot personally vouch for it, but the number of awards that it has won or been nominated for speaks for itself. Other than nearly sweeping its nominated categories at Cannes, it was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards and won for Best International Feature Film. Awards don’t mean everything, but I will be honest and say that the film’s consistent nominations were how it gained my attention in the first place.

Here is my VHS style cover:

Because I have never designed anything like this before, I am pretty proud of the outcome. While VHS covers often consist of an overwhelming bombardment of text and information, I tried to keep everything as minimal as possible, while also staying true to the retro aesthetic. I will show how I did everything in addition to explaining my decision-making process behind the choices that I made:

When looking for posters or images to use for the VHS cover, I found the Korean release poster. I liked how everything was monochrome except for the car, and thought it would be a good base to use.

Everything I used to create this was completed in PhotoShop, however, a free alternative can be used. In order to create a blank canvas for my design, I used the patch tool (shortcut J) to get rid of the preexisting text on the image. This isn’t always helpful, but given the otherwise uniform background, it worked fairly well. I also wasn’t too worried about any slight imperfections, as some of the more grainy effects that would be added later would cover it up.

In order to make it look more like an old VHS that has seen better days, I added some texture by finding a picture of a blank worn-out VHS sleeve.

I used this one and then cropped it so only the front was visible since I am just doing the cover, but anything similar should also work.

In order to make everything look more seamless, I used one of the several blend effects available in photoshop. After trying a few different options, I decided on the Linear Dodge, as I felt it worked the best of all of them.

Though I initially assumed I would have to create my own text logo for the film, I surprisingly found a transparent image of the logo on Wikipedia.

I rearranged the text and removed the katakana so it worked better for the VHS cover format. I also ended up adding a gradient to the top using the rectangle tool because I felt that it broke up the space better. I also used blending effects on the gradient to change the transparency and mode to make it look more seamless.

While I liked the results so far, I felt that it was missing something. I ended up rearranging the title a bit and adding the director/screenwriter to the bottom in a color that matched the license plate, in addition to adding the original author to the top. I played around with adding additional text and even some of the accolades it received but decided to keep it as is.

Overall, I think that I did a good job of creating a retro VHS vibe, while also still capturing the original essence of the film. I honestly had fun making this, and want to create something similar in the future for fun.

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