An independent archive of typography.

Listen Up Philip (2014) movie poster

Contributed by Matthijs Sluiter on May 23rd, 2018. Artwork published in
January 2014
Listen Up Philip (2014) movie poster 1
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Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore) and Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) play the main characters in Listen Up Philip, an indie dark comedy about a multitude of frustrations that plague a writer named Philip.

Not Roth, of course—whatever gave you that idea?—but Philip Lewis Friedman, portrayed by Jason Schwartzman. Unless, that is, you insist that the font the trailer uses to display the movie’s title is identical to the iconic one used on the cover of Portnoy’s Complaint, or that the whole bit about a young Jewish writer taking shelter in the summer home of his older Jewish mentor is basically the plot for The Ghost Writer, or that you can’t seriously have Jason Schwartzman play a self-indulged novelist named Philip without evoking the Old Man from New Jersey.
–– Tablet Mag, 2014

The typographic reference for the movie logo must have been the Philip Roth paperback series by Bantam Books (1970–1978) and Corgi Books (1974), both set in Benguiat Caslon. The paperback designs in turn refer to the dustjacket designed by Paul Bacon for Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint (1969), a design that started a series of book covers following the formula ‘Roth = Caslon + swashes + bold colors’.

For Listen Up Philip, designer Teddy Blanks picked Cabernet for logo and headlines, assisted by Bodoni for credits and copy. Cabernet (2003) is an unofficial revival of Benguiat Caslon (1965), originally designed by Ed Benguiat for the Photo-Lettering library during his years as the type house’s art director. In the same year that Cabernet was released, House Industries acquired the rights to the Photo Lettering catalogue, and their digital revival of Benguiat Caslon was one of the first typefaces made available. It has has less swashes than Cabernet, but more delicate hairlines and it comes with a matching shadow weight.

The movie title and poster were designed by Teddy Blanks (CHIPS), who writes: “The design of the theatrical poster is meant to evoke film posters of the 1970s with its thin border and abundant white space. Its central image is a painting by illustrator Anna Bak-Kvapil. The film’s end title sequence, set in type meant to resemble the swashy bookjackets of Philip Roth’s early novels, comprises nineteen book covers designed specifically for the film” — see this dedicated post.

Listen Up Philip (2014) movie poster 2
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Listen Up Philip (2014) movie poster 3
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Listen Up Philip (2014) movie poster 4
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