Casino Royale Sketches:
James Bond Collection
Designer: Michael Gillette
Illustrator: Michael Gillette
Publisher: Penguin Books UK
Typefaces: Hand drawn and adapted from old font books.
Genre: Fans of Bond movies.
As a lifelong Bond fan, I was really excited to see these designs by Michael Gillette. Thanks for your insights Michael!
What are the typefaces being used?
Most of the type is hand drawn, then scanned and placed in Photoshop. The less scripted ones are based on old font books which were again scanned and manipulated. Sometimes I'd then print them out, create a stencil and make a monotype with an ink roller to get some texture (Moon Raker & Dr No especially). The Ian Fleming type was also hand drawn, I designed it to be flexible and easily adaptable with the varying other faces, it was important to me that the covers felt completely hand made, and was conscious not to make them look over-polished. Really, all the techniques involved are pretty much as they would have been in the 60's & 70's.
Where are the images from?
They are iconic bond girls, distillations of all that I think is hip and sexy about the whole deal. None of them are based on any one person or image, they are archetypes. I wanted a look of seductive murder about them.
What is the genre/audience?
I think that Penguin wanted to tap into the giant audience that watches the films but has had no interest thus far in the literature. The mandate was always to keep them in the tradition of the films rather than the fiction.
Where there any constraints placed on you by the client?
Yes, the Fleming estate was insistent that there was no overt nudity, no nipples for sure. This is why they are mostly backs. I slipped a few sides and a full frontal in there too. I thought it'd make them display better.
Where there any steps taken before you started designing?
I was approached by the designer Jon Grey, he sent me the image of the original 1967 Casino Royale film poster which has a lady's back/type clash. He asked if I was interested in doing a project along these lines, I didn't know initially that it was actually for Bond. Once that was established I was all up for it, I did a quick sketch, it's got the right attitude.
What was the working process that led up to the final?
From this first version, I was asked to do a more finished version which they were happy with, I'd drawn it in pencil but I felt it was lacking something, they asked me to finish another 3 on a trial basis. I did them in watercolour, and they had a much warmer vibe about them. right at the
end I re-did Casino Royale and it's probably the slickest of the lot.
I did them all by the same process, design and paint the girl, then think about the type. The type sometimes took longer than the girl. I didn't plan out the whole series, time was very tight, so I just knocked them down one by one. It was great that I got to do the type as well as the girl. when I was a kid I thought that the artist did everything on covers I learnt later in college that other people did the typography, it was a real blow to hear.
Were there any known influences that led to your solution?
yes, the original Casino Royale poster. the type was inspired by film posters & psychedelic posters, saul bass, victor moscoso, & rick griffin. Hormones.
Did the project have any unique struggles in its process?
The struggle was really to keep inspired within a limiting concept across 14 books. I suggested that they all be different colours and this brought some scope to things. Some of the colours demanded that I paint them in a different technique, sometimes in a way that I hadn't worked before, so that was interesting. Also, right in the middle of doing them I landed an advertising job for Nokia which had a very high pressure turnaround, so I was working around the clock for a while. I was fairly punchdrunk.
What is the message behind the designs?
Bond is back!
What would you say makes this an effective design?
They really work well together as a set and are good eye candy in a book store, they "read" from quite some distance, so they draw you in.
Is there anything unique you learned from the process of this project?
Some technical things for sure, it was great to get to do a whole set,
although I've been illustrating for a long time, it's jobs like these where you move forward.
3.10.09 // Courtney Baker said:
They are absolutely gorgeous--and I think I am speaking for most women here--the images (and even the type, truthfully) make me long to be a '60's Bond Girl! They exude sex appeal!
3.10.09 // Ian Shimkoviak said:
does not get any better than this. Lovely through and through. The color palettes, the image choices and finally and most seductively, the typography. Can't get enough of these. Really stunning.
3.11.09 // Meg89 said:
Amazing! Will they be selling these in the US at some point? I'd love to buy a few, the Casino Royale one for sure!
6.14.09 // Olga Lavecchia said:
Stunning! I want to get the whole series. Amazing work Michael.