Designer Viktor Hertz on making a brilliant film festival poster out of plastic tubes and a whole load of paint

The Swedish graphic designer takes us through how he put together an ultra-inventive poster for this year's Uppsala film festival in his dad's garage.

Swedish graphic designer Viktor Hertz is perhaps best known for his satirical 'honest' logos poking fun at big brands like McDonald's (aka 'McDiabetes'), but for the last decade he's been behind the brand identity of Uppsala International Short Film Festival - and for this year's fest he's really knocked it out of the park.

As show in the above trailer, Viktor created the poster artwork with transparent plastic tubes and filled them with paint, making this beauty of a jackdaw below.

"I've been doing the trailers for the festival since 2007, and the posters since 2012; the main award for the festival is called the Uppsala Film Jackdaw, and it's also a very common bird here in (Swedish city) Uppsala," Viktor tells us by email.

"So it's become somewhat of a trademark the last couple of years, using the contour of the bird as the base, and then depicting it in different styles and materials. Every year I present around 10 different ideas, with different materials and concepts, but we thought the plastic tubes filled with colour sounded most interesting and original."

Viktor was struck by the rarity of such a method, and the idea of using acrylic paints in an unusual way, putting them in transparent tubes instead of straight on the canvas. A happy accident was that, looking from afar, the result looked a bit like scribbling with a pen.

"It's like doodling, but in a bit more advanced way," Viktor elaborates. But the process was a world away from the doddle of carefree sketching.

"Lots of times, I didn't even know where the paint would end up, as the tubes were entangled in a big mess, going through the whole artwork in different paths," he says when describing the tortuous design process behind the poster.

"In the work-in-progress photos on the Behance project page, you can see some early try-outs before I got the hang of it. You'll also get to see a photo of my worn-out and sweaty face, if you weren't motivated enough already to click there."

The process was made more complicated by how Viktor was sucking through the tubes to make the paints run whilst filming everything for the festival trailer.

"I had to be alert, and I felt like a hunter on the look out for prey, trying to figure out which tube to follow and put in the frame," he says. "As I was doing this on my own, I had to juggle with lighting, camera, sucking the paint and sealing the tubes after they were filled, all at the same time.

"But I eventually got enough footage to edit the trailer. I'm even surprised how well the last shot ended up, when the whole artwork is revealed and the last tubes are getting filled.

"I shot this scene in four split parts, and then just masked the footage in Adobe Premiere Pro, putting them as four layers on top of each other," he continues. "Nothing advanced at all, but I'm happy with the result, as it was being made in my dad's garage with no budget, basically. Shoutout to my brother Peter who helped me with this last footage, and also to my dad, who let me occupy his beloved work place during this project."

Shoutout acknowledged, Viktor. But how was it for the artist to move away from digital methods to physical? Not too hard, actually.

"2015 was the very first time I created something physical at all, as I normally work purely digitally in Adobe Illustrator," Viktor explains. "And it really resonated with me; I got hooked immediately. It's such a cliché to say that working with your hands is so much more rewarding, but it really is.

"It's a lot more complicated and you need to plan everything in a totally different way - there's no CMD+Z short command for undoing stuff. (But) it's so much more rewarding to see it grow before your eyes, and you can touch it with your hands and look at it from different angles, etc. I would definitely love to get more commission work in this area, (to) try out a lot of ideas I already have, including a series of artworks in this plastic tube and paints area."

Viktor is free to play with ideas when working on Uppsala commissions, a freedom that keeps him coming back to the fest year after year.

"It's different in the way that it's a lot more free and open, as I get to come up with the concepts from scratch," he tells us. "The layout and graphic profile is already set, so I just need to make something that fits with the festival atmosphere and looks good too.

"I've been involved with the festival since 2005, working as a volunteer with all sorts of things, so the festival is very close to my heart. It's also the best week of the year, happening in my home town; I meet lots of great people and filmmakers from around the world. So by now it's an honour to be the person who makes the official artwork for them.

"My goal is to make the best one ever each year. There are some editions that I maybe would have done differently now, looking back, but this latest one is definitely my favourite, so far.

Check out more of Viktor's work on his official site.

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