The power of the letter "o"

A look at movie posters that take advantage of the vowel's design potential

By Mirko Ilic
Published July 25, 2011 1:01AM (EDT)

Cops and Mafia the boob tube

Merchandise such as toys, cups, T-shirts, towels, bed coverings, bags, lunch boxes, pencils and notebooks are financially very important for movies. Therefore the branding of a movie is very important to studios.

But not all movies have cute animated characters or a comics hero to fill that role. They must rely on logos created out of the title of the movie. Sometimes they get lucky when they have the letter "o" in the title. Having two "o's" in the title is almost like the Chinese character for "double happiness." Why the letter "o"? It has a hole in the middle and one can put things in it. It works perfectly every time, in every way, by using the outline of the "o," putting things inside such as eyeballs, faces, people, replacing the letter with round objects, or even with objects that are not even round. For example the heart is used very often despite the fact that it looks more like the letter "v." One just cannot lose by going with the "o." Remember, it even worked for the president.

quantum of solace

one body too manyWe added 60 new images of movie posters to the Flickr collection. There are all together 189 images, sometimes using one, sometimes two, and sometimes even three o's to create the logo / title. Next time we can talk about other letters used in the titles of movie posters.

lady be good

looney tunes hollywood sodom and gomorrah body and soul Brooklyn gorilla look


the shooting mikpokoemo platoon


All images on this page are courtesy of Mirko Ilic, a New York-based graphic designer and illustrator. He co-authored "The Design of Dissent" with Milton Glaser, and "The Anatomy of Design and Icons of Graphic Design" with Steven Heller. He teaches illustration at the School of Visual Arts.

Copyright F+W Media Inc. 2011.

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Mirko Ilic

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