Sunday, March 27, 2011

Retro 71

This week’s Retro 71 concept is my take on Disneyland's "coming soon" attraction sign for the Haunted Mansion. The sign, created by WED, was posted on the gates of the Mansion in the mid 60's. The simple wood cut sign featured the clever writings of Mr. Marty Sklar. This hand-painted sign featured a skull-bat icon at the top, with copy that advertised "post-lifetime leases” which included a "license to scare the daylights out of guests visiting the Portrait Gallery, Museum of the Supernatural, graveyard, and other happy haunting grounds."

I recreated this sign in Illustrator then changed up the body copy slightly—my version directs ghosts to contact Walt Disney World's Ghost Relations Department rather than Disneyland's. I removed the spider web icon from behind the text and placed a photo of Walt Disney World's Mansion from the early 70's that was taken through one of my all-time favorite filters in Photoshop. After that, I adjusted the Mansion photo in Illustrator to make it a vector object so that separations for screen printing films would be possible. The color palette consists of washed-out, ghostly grays and eerie whites. I have a few other color combinations for this shirt, but I feel the distressed texture and faded look lends itself to the established branding that is Retro 71. 

Well that about does it for today. Tune in this Friday for another theme park typography case study. Thanks for dropping in and hurry back!


  1. LOVE THIS! Are you going to print any of your designs?

  2. Glad you like it. I've had a ton of requests asking about my designs, sadly I can't print off any of the t-shirt designs because of copyright laws. I really want these shirts, I mean it was one of the reason I added this segment to the blog. My hopes is that someone at theme park merch would be interested enough to contact me.....

  3. I figured. Could you circumvent copyright laws through fair use and by saying they are fan creations? Don't "sell" them just have suggested "donations."

    There is a website called "Tee Fury" which sells shirts with trademarked franchise elements. Maybe you could submit designs to them.

    Either way, I'll keep my fingers crossed... :)

  4. This is the best one you've made. Disney will never take your ideas -- they only use their own. But now you have a portfolio and a Disney understanding. Apply for a position in Merchandise Design. What the hell? It couldn't hurt.

  5. Rus, thanks for the compliments. I've actually worked with Disney Consumer Products (my first job out of college was working with a licensor of Disney making toys, stationery and other gifts) and Walt Disney Imagineering before as a freelancer. I've tried getting on full time and trust me when I say that I've applied to a ton of jobs. Alas, nothing.