Olly Moss on being one of the most sought-after designers in the movie poster world
What’s your favorite part of designing a poster? The layout, illustrating it, arranging type?
I don’t see it as different things; it’s all part of one process. I think it’s a mistake to differentiate typography from illustration from concept. It’s all the same thing, it’s about making marks on a page. They should all work together. There’s not one thing I would prefer over another. I definitely like it when you can do something simply without any excess embellishments, though. I’ve been experimenting with that lately and it’s been working nicely. I think what’s most satisfying is when a solution works really simply and is strong and doesn’t need anything else added to it.
Who are your design influences?
Graphic designers would obviously be Milton Glazer and older guys like that.
A lot of the things I’ve been influenced by most are British transport posters, though, which are kinda nameless. Those posters haven’t been attributed to any one designer because they were done by work-a-day dudes who just did that stuff back in the day. That style really speaks to me. They’re very concept led and very bold because the idea is to communicate something very simply, which is what I really love about them.
I also love Greg Capullo’s work on "Batman" at the moment. I think he’s one of those guys with such an amazing style. He’s got such detailed illustrations but he also has great composition. He’s one of the best cover artists in terms of coming up with a great idea and a really graphic approach to things. I think he’s fantastic.
What sort of non-poster design work do you enjoy doing?
I can’t really talk about that! [laughs]
But I am working on another art show with a bunch of different stuff. I’m also moving towards video-game development, which is really fun for me. It’s something that I always wanted to do and an opportunity has presented itself to me to do it so I’m looking at that now.
Are you getting to design a video game from the ground up or are you freelancing design work for someone else’s game?
I’m working with some other people, and we’re doing it from the ground up. The most exciting thing for me is getting an input on the gameplay design and the narrative design. I’m a huge gamer and while that doesn’t make you a good game designer, it’s something that I really want to learn. The opportunity to learn how people make those things is super exciting to me.
What are some of your favorite posters you’ve designed for Mondo over the years?
The ones I like tend to be the ones that aren’t so popular. I really liked the "Bride of Frankenstein" one that came out. Some I really like some things and hate others. I really like the idea behind the "Dirty Harry" poster, but I think the execution on it isn’t very strong. I like the "Evil Dead" one but I would still go back and change it. I like the "Captain America – Hydra" one that I did, too.
Actually, if I had to say one that I would not change a thing on, it would be the "American Werewolf in London" poster. That’s one of my favorite ones, and I don’t look at it and go, ‘Oh, man, if only I had done something else it would be great!’ I don’t think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done but there’s nothing that jumps out at me as broken or janky. [laughs]
Jock says he can often intuit when people are going to put a Mondo poster on eBay as they buy it from the booth. Do you ever get that feeling, too? Do you even care what people do with the posters?
Whatever people do with it once they bought it is fine. The only real upsetting thing about it is that someone who puts something up on eBay prevents someone who really wants to own it from owning it. That’s it. I’d always rather people own it who enjoy the image than people just looking for a profit.
Are there any great ideas for posters you’ve had that you haven’t been able to execute because of licensing issues?
Not films, but I want to do "Simpsons" stuff. I want to do "Simpsons" stuff so bad!
I also really want to do older movies, maybe not so much the cult ones. I feel like Mondo really focuses on popular, geeky, cult movies. That’s fantastic, I love them to bits, but I kinda want to do more classic movies. I’d love to do "Chinatown", for example. That would be amazing, I love that movie.
What sort of "Simpsons" stuff do you want to do?
I can’t say! ‘Cause I sorta may be working on something a little bit … But I want to do some "Simpsons" stuff that doesn’t perhaps look like "Simpsons" stuff. I think that series has so many amazing niche references that everybody gets that you don’t need to do it in the "Simpsons" style. You can have things that speak to how influential and affecting it was throughout the first nine seasons or whatever. You can throw those little references into something that perhaps isn’t their traditional style.
Are you a comic book fan?
Of course, I love comics!
What are some of your favorite comics right now?
I’m loving "Fatale". I’m loving "Daredevil", the Mark Waid run. I’m really enjoying "Saga". The one I’m really excited about every month now is Scott Snyder’s new one, "The Wake", which I think is fantastic. Also, quite similar is "The Massive".
I’m a huge comics guy. I used to wait for trades, but now I started downloading the issues on my iPad! I’m addicted to them.
Being British, do you ever read "2000 AD"?
I’ve never read "2000 AD", but Jock keeps trying to get me to read it! Actually, I’ve got a couple collections on my shelf I picked up but I haven’t read. I love that style of storytelling, I’ve just never had the opportunity to get into it. It’s also one of those ones that’s waiting for me and I know I’ll love it when I get into it, so it’s nice to have it there waiting for me.
Like recently, I always knew I was going to love "Hellblazer", but I never really picked it up. Then they had a crazy sale, each issue was 99 cents or something, so I just picked up the first 100 issues. That comic has now become one of my favorite comics of all time in the space of a week! It’s crazy how good it is.
Are you working on any comics projects, yourself?
Yeah, I’m working on a cover for a Batman series, at the moment. Not sure I can say which one but that’s kind of exciting. I also did the "Before Watchmen" thing.
I love doing covers, but I think I’d much rather write than draw, really. I’ve got some ideas for stuff I want to do and I’ve got some people who might want to draw them for me. It’s just a case of deciding if I can jump in and write a comic or whether it’s something I need to learn and figure out how it works first.
So would you be working on creator-owned, work presumably?
No, actually I’ve got some stories I want to pitch for some other stuff. We’ll see …
So what’s next for you after the convention?
Some sleep would be nice! [laughs]
Copyright © 2014 Comic Book Resources. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.