This Year We Make Contact With 2001 in 1968

Last night we watched the documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures. I was struck by this image, presumably from one of the premieres of 2001.

The visual elements of the movie (including production design, posters, typography, sets, models, special effects) were intended to depict, in 1968, the future. In this picture, there’s a remarkable contrast between the poster for the film, and everything else around it. The surrounding elements tell a story of the 60s – the cars, the signage, everything. And it might as well as be the 50s, or even the 40s. But the poster for the movie itself pops right out. The typography, the layout in the space, still look contemporary if not futuristic.

Looking back more than 40 years later, we can see the discontinuity between the world of what-was-then-today and the design-as-illustration-of-the future. One has to wonder how it felt in 1968. Was it even more dramatic (with the future stuff seeming really really future-y) or was it less dramatic (with the current stuff not seeing so ridiculously dated as it does now)?


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