by Eddy Colloton
For every party we host, we design a menu so our guests can learn about the cocktails we’ve created. The menus often incorporate aesthetic elements from the movie, either drawing on the color palette of the film, the typeface from the film’s poster, or the graphic design of the opening title sequence. Craig has more graphic design experience than I do, so he took the lead on the first few menus. We had decided on a “Cold War” theme for The Living Daylights party, which sort of just turned into a Soviet Union themed party, so I suggested we borrow from Constructivist graphic design used in posters from the early Soviet era.
Constructivism is a philosophy and art movement particularly popular in Russia in the early 20th century. The style frequently features geometric patterns, primary colors, and techniques like montage. Constructivism permeated all art forms, from painting to theater, and importantly, cinema, in the work of pioneering filmmakers like Dziga Vertov.
However, the most famous remenanet of the art movement is likely Aleksander Mikhailovich Rodchenko’s poster Books!
This image has been “remixed” by many designers, often associating their work with leftist politics. Shepard Fairey is a notable example.
I made a loose copy of narongtum’s image for the rough draft I was working on in Gimp (essentially a free open source version of photoshop). I’m not much of a graphic designer and, aside from editing the occasional photo, I don’t have a need for Photoshop that would justify the cost. If you’re also in that category, Gimp is a good option.
To emulate the use of Cyrillic text that was so prominent in these posters, I wanted a font that was “Cyrillic-y,” but not so much so that it would be hard to read. I didn’t want to challenge anyone’s cryptography skills, especially after they had a few drinks in them. Luckily, the free font website dafont had Cyrillic fonts in spades. I ended up using a mix of Kremlin and Soviet for my first draft of the poster:
I sent this over to Craig and he took the idea and ran with it. Like I said, I’m not much of a designer, so at minimum Craig was going to have to put some polish on my draft. He ended up doing a lot more than that. Aside from making the whole thing a lot more legible, he added this weathered quality that I really liked and which fits the feeling of the war-weary Soviets in The Living Daylights.
The Living Daylights Menu
The themes of our parties often allow us to bring in our interests from outside of the franchise, and muddle them together with a Bond movie...like mint in a mojito (sorry, couldn’t resist). Getting to explore my interest in Constructivism was a cool excuse to explore an art movement I had heard of, but didn’t know too much about. My girlfriend, Lauren, lived in Russia for several years and I got to learn a lot from her during the process of designing this menu. She also helped us decorate for the party using some of the reproductions of Soviet propaganda posters she had purchased while she was living in St. Petersburg. You can see all of our photos from that night, as well as the other content we created for the party, on our parties page.