It’s difficult to make a spooky logo based on scary movie tropes without it looking naff (or like something on a box of Clue), so when a horror film production company in Hong Kong approached Anagrama to make them an identity, the Mexican design studio definitely had their work cut out for them. The client wanted the aesthetic to be “classic horror” sans over-the-top blood, so Anagrama turned to the gory yet gritty imagery of a forensic crime scene. “We started by using props to create ‘surprises,’ like evidence bags and glow-in the dark ink,” explains the studio’s creative director and co-founder, Mike Herrera.
What seems like harmless letter paper or an ordinary business card later reveals itself to be covered in finger prints and blood spatters when a black light reveals neon green traces. The identity contains a secret, mysterious narrative, and like the best scary movies, it’s a narrative that stays hidden but finds ways to reveal itself slowly—and creepily—over time.
For the Making Horror logo, Anagrama conducted a series of “typographical experiments” using their scanner, personal specs, and magnifying glasses to stretch and warp some simple Futura Extra Bold. As a result, the four final logos appear to shriek and shudder like a ghost—one of them even seems to be growing monstrous jaws.
“We wanted a logo that could easily be a signature,” says Herrera. “However, we also wanted it to say everything about the brand through some simple and elegant solution.” It’s a shadowy, Jekyll-and-Hyde kind of typeface—neat and legible, but also a bit deranged.
For the font that delineates company details, Anagrama used a typewriter “to show real human errors” and evoke an old-fashioned detective’s office. Their inspiration came largely from the aesthetic of Stanley Kubrick, who often features Futura Extra Bold in his films and whose 1980 film, The Shining, features a terrifying scene with Jack Nicholson at a typewriter, typing out one of horror’s most memorable and chilling sentences.
Anagrama topped it off by designing Making Horror their very own movie poster, as well as a disk of film demos that comes in a brown envelope plastered with red tape, as if it were a CD containing top-secret evidence. The overall look is playful and evocative without being cliché or screaming “horror” too loudly–choosing to whisper “horror” instead.