Looking back now it seems hard to imagine a time pre-No Ghost, when its unique finely rendered form wasn’t visual short-hand for some brand of vanquishment. As a symbol it has become known just as much externally to the film through seemingly endless bastardisations and low-rent appropriations. We will doubtless all have seen it on the door of the average pest control company or maybe the local pizza joint…Hungerbusters anyone?
As the key art for a teaser campaign it was perfect. It said everything it needed to say in a simple and easy to understand manner with a refreshing lack of fluff and nonsense. In many ways this minimal approach to film marketing paved the way for the paired back but clever brand of advertising that we see everywhere nowadays. It’s still there to some degree in big blockbuster movies but is now more evident throughout consumer culture via advertising for sports, fashion and technology marketing.
This should be no surprise really as influential graphic design was his stock in trade. Aside to ‘No Ghost’ Mr Gross also branded that other perennial graphic designers favourite, the 1968 Mexico Olympics and was a long serving AD for National Lampoon magazine, creating that other classic piece of agit-graphics, the much imitated “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog” cover.
In the same way, No Ghost is at once irreverent, obtuse and straight-talking. We talk a lot about ‘tone of voice’ in design these days and this logo speaks in broad pre-Giuliani New York filtered through the counter-cultural savvy of Saturday Night Live. It captures the insouciant mood of the film and it’s characters perfectly. The Ghostbusters were a new brand of movie superhero and they had the logo to prove it.