I, Poster

Today we continue our series of typographic theatrical posters, which we began the last week with The Three Musketeers. Today’s project, I, Claudius, illustrates the famous novel by Robert Graves, a pseudo-autobiography by the Roman emperor Claudius (better known to his friends and relatives as Claudius the Idiot, or That Fool Claudius, or Claudius the Stammerer). A great story, adapted for TV by BBC, would make a fine play.

Actually, the whole Theatre of Literature project’s roots lie in this poster, which evolved from a different design that it was first a part of. We thought it would make a good poster and only then did we decide to continue doing posters based on famous novels’ titles.

The title is arranged from paper letters cut out and then cut into pieces so that they resemble a broken stone or mosaic. This brings to mind the passing of time which makes stone crumble but also Claudius’ stammering and, more generally, the fragmentation of any historical account (also, I studied literature before turning to design).

The typography is based on Requiem by Hoefler & Frere-Jones, a great alternative for overused Trajan. Although inspired by work of a sixteenth-century Renaissance calligrapher, it clearly descends from Roman capitals and retains their monumentality and classic elegance.

The red color of the background is the kingly red but also the color of blood.

Theatre of Literature will continue with more posters next week(s) so, stay tuned.


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