Meet the Droids

Forgive me for going meta for a quick article, but I wanted to take a minute to introduce the (slightly) new droid banners. Think of this article as an Easter egg of sorts for the site. As many of you have probably noticed, I swapped out the regular TDYLF masthead for a French-themed masthead for a few weeks following Bastille Day. What you may not have noticed is that I’ve placed several mastheads in rotation over the last few months. Half the time, you’ll see the original- the Andalusian Droid, which is my favorite because it conveys everything I want in the TDYLF “brand”, so to speak. The other half of the time, there’s a rotation of other banners. For instance…

The French-themed banner has gone away, but it has been replaced by the same concept applied to the normal masthead. In other words, I’ve taken the French language off of it and returned the colors to droid yellow* and black. But Mélies’ A Trip to the Moon mixed with R2D2 will stay.

The first alternate banner that I created was another R2-themed banner (why should 3PO have all the fun?), this time placing R2 in The Graduate. Other than the original Andalusian Droid, this is my favorite because R2 somehow looks shy and sheepish placed behind Mrs. Robinson’s sultry leg. And that’s a ridiculous trait considering… well, he’s a freakin’ cannister droid with no emotions whatsoever. Also, Mrs. Robinson’s sexy leg points directly at the name of the site, which is an ancient graphic design secret.

The second alternate banner that I put into rotation was C3PO in place of Peter Stormare’s character, Gaear Grimsrud, in Fargo. It works for me because 3PO’s permanently opened mouth mimics Stormare’s slack jawed expression when he’s busted by Marge Gunderson. And it tips a cap to one of the most memorable movie scenes of the last 30 years, made in a movie by the Coens, some of my favorite filmmakers working today.

After adding those other two into the rotation, I realized that I needed a banner to represent one of my cinematic heroes- Buster Keaton. I enjoy Keaton way too much to exclude him in this project. I had to carefully choose this one because Keaton’s trademark porkpie hat had to be represented, but in a way that would mesh well visually with 3PO’s awkward head shape. I also think it works because Keaton is “The Great Stone Face”. Who better to represent that than an emotionless droid?

And here is the original, which cheekily combines a hallmark of classic cinema, a surrealist masterpiece, with a highly recognizable slice of pop culture. If I were into mission statements and the like, whatever I came up with for TDYLF would sound a lot like that. That it can be easily repackaged from Buñuel’s “Andalusian Dog” into “Andalusian Droid” is icing on the cake. And like Mrs. Robinson’s leg, the blade points right at the site name.

Do you have a favorite? Are there any that don’t work for you? Please be honest. Do you have any suggestions for  others that might work? Keep in mind that eyes or characters looking for things are sort of a recurring theme (with the exception of Buster)- Marge Gunderson “looking for” Stormare’s character; the sliced eyeball looking at the razor; the moon getting R2 in the eye; Mrs. Robinson “looking for” Dustin Hoffman… or in this case, R2. I also try to keep it in the realm of recognizable classic cinema, with the Fargo piece being the exception.

*yes, there’s an “official” droid yellow that I created specifically for this site. I know, I’m a graphic design nerd. But consistency counts.

20 Comments

Filed under Movies

20 responses to “Meet the Droids

  1. I am still waiting for my R2s trip to the moon T-Shirt…but they are all great! You need to do a Christmas one for December.

  2. Superb John. My favourite is The Graduate one. Genius. I wonder if the iconic image from The Shining would work? Peeking through the door?

    • That’s a great idea. Such a great idea, in fact, that I’ve tried it. But the splintery door and the sliver for 3P0’s face weren’t quite working out. But it’s definitely a great idea.

      I’ve also tried Ikiru (didn’t work out), Annie Hall (didn’t work out), and Metropolis (REALLY hard to make that one work).

  3. I think they’re great, and kudos on the computer skills too. I genuinely thought the Un Chien Andalou banner was a photo of a mock recreation of the scene. Like Mark I think my favourite is The Graduate. Maybe a Droog version of 3PO would look pretty cool?

  4. My favorite is still the Andalusian Droid, but I love that you’ve been mixing it up.

  5. Those banners were why I started reading your (excellent) blog. They’re wonderful. If there were shirts of them, I’d buy them all.

    • I’ve toyed with the idea of shirts but I’m worried about copyright issues, especially since a certain droid rights holder is very protective of that name.

  6. Phil

    I’ll join the chorus and say they are all great. Make more and keep them all in rotation. If you want me to nitpick, I’m not sure I would have gotten the Keaton reference without an explanation and the Fargo version would have taken a closer examination. (I didn’t remember the coat)
    If you are asking for more ideas, the Bunuel also reminded me of ‘A Clockwork Orange’, and the pried open eyes would probably also work well.

    • All of you saying A Clockwork Orange have a great idea. Both of those would work- either with the eye propped open or just the basic shot of Alex in his hat with the thing on his eye.

  7. Graduate and Trip to the Moon are my faves, honestly.
    I’d have to echo that I wouldn’t have known that was Keaton without an explanation.
    I think they’re all great, though. I love the styling for the brand you’re cultivating here. Really looking forward to more!

  8. The Andalusian Droid is fantastic and my favourite.

    What about the image from Citizen Kane of Welles at the political rally. Maybe you could superimpose C3PO’s face over top of his or something. That’s quite an iconic image that leaps to mind.

    • That’s a great idea, but it might be tough. The less perspective there is on the face, the better (i.e. the more straight-on the original head is, the better).

  9. All of these are awesome. The first time I visited your blog I saw the “Andalusian Droid” and knew I was going to love this place.

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