Graphic designer Mark Blamire has re-designed the promotional material for Ecstasy, the latest film by novelist Irvine Welsh. The film, an adaptation of the novel by Welsh, is prequel to the now infamous and iconic movie Trainspotting. The film is a dark romantic comedy film adaptation of the short story The Undefeated, from the best-selling book Ecstasy. Directed by Rob Heydon, the film stars Adam Sinclair as Lloyd Buist, a drug addict who smuggles ecstasy from Amsterdam, alongside Kristin Kreuk as love interest Heather Thompson.
Blamire worked on the the marketing and design for the now iconic movie when co-designer at agency Stylorouge in the mid-90’s. The agency, based in Charlotte Street in London, have been responsible for a variety of widely recognized work in the 1990’s for clients including Blur, Crowded House and The Cure. They created the concept for the original Trainspotting campaign 16 years ago, which was given to a third party to adapt and take to market. Says Blamire, “They did a great job of butchering all the best bits and undoing a lot of the details that had made us so proud of the original work.” (via Creative Review).
Through the power of social media, Blamire discovered that an “ugly adaptation” of the Trainspotting poster had been created, and he set out to “have a word” with the director.
In an interview with Creative Review, he said “DJ John Digweed has a cameo role in the just-released Ecstasy film in one of the clubbing sequences. I follow him on Facebook and he posted a link to the film’s website about five months ago. As I created the poster campaigns for Irvine Welsh’s two previous films, Trainspotting and Acid House, I followed the link with interest, only to find that an ugly adaptation of the Trainspotting poster had been created to promote the film.”
Despite not working on commercial projects for a number of years – Blamire now runs Blanka, a website selling prints and t-shirts by other designers – his recollection of dismay at the original material being “butchered” fueled a desire to get in contact with the film’s producer and director:
“I decided to contact the director and producer and say something along the lines of ‘Come on guys, show some imagination, you’re copying a campaign that was custom designed for another film entirely that was made 15 years ago.'” (via Creative Review)
Despite the expression of disapproval being, by his own admission, “a rant”, Blamire received a call from the film’s producer, Ashley Pover, who rang to say they appreciated his honesty and point of view. The designer’s input aside, the production team had not been entirely happy with the work produced, but had become lost on how to move the project forward. When Blamire shared his comments they were happy to explore ideas with him in the small window of time available.
His approach was to create guidelines for himself to work within, as there was no traditional brief to work from per se; the initial direction was to make the material resemble the launch of a superclub such as the Hacienda or Ministry of Sound as opposed to a movie. The direction evolved to be a pastiche of Trainspotting 15 years on; to keep the essential feeling of the original material but to update the look and feel for the contemporary audience of today, eventually reaching the “pill packet” theme used in the final designs.
Blamire referenced the work of Damien Hirst, artwork for Manchester’s famous Hacienda club and modernist design to inspire the final outcome which, despite a few disagreements between the team about the final design, was eventually approved in time for production.
Follow Mark Blamire on @blamblanka.