Turner Classic Movies

Where Then Meets Now

During the ten years working with Turner Classic Movies as Creative Director, Senior Designer, Design Director, and client liaison for my agency "BAD Studio" I designed and directed over seventy major projects including the hundreds of assets associated with each campaign. Working with the amazing marketing team at Turner Classic Movies and producing award-winning creative work was one of my most rewarding career experiences.

Roles: Creative/Design Director, Senior Designer, Packaging Designer, Client Liaison

The Brand

In 1994 Turner Classic Movies began one of the most innovative cable television concepts; A commercial-free basic cable network.

Our studio helped TCM go from startup to one of the most admired cable networks. Our work helped them win over 50 awards for visual design in both the design and entertainment industries.

The Essentials

Running of 17 seasons, The Essentials is Turner Classic Movies' popular Saturday evening anchor franchise showcasing "must-see" classic films, featuring a different guest co-host each season. Together, the host and special guest introduce a hand-picked classic and offer commentary on its cultural significance, its influence on other films, behind-the-scenes stories and their own personal reflections.

For launching and promoting The Essentials my studio designed specialty packaging and B2B/B2C marketing materials for the first six seasons. The DVD Box set was sent to media outlets and influencers. We also created B2B advertising that ran in entertainment trade journals and B2C advertising for prominent national magazines.

The Essentials custom packaging featured an embossed and die-cut slipcase. The die-cut case was cleverly designed to allow photos on the inner sleeve to be visible regardless of the direction it was put back in the case. Each volume included six DVDs and a booklet with commentary on each film's cultural significance, its influence on other films, and behind-the-scenes stories.

Hollywood Heavyweights

Turner Classic Movies delivered a knock-out lineup with Hollywood Heavyweights: A Salute to Boxing in Film, a month-long festival featuring Hollywood's finest in a collection of 41 boxing films. The festival included the only film about the sport to capture the Best Picture Oscar - Rocky and the two actors to win Best Actor Oscars for playing boxers, Robert De Niro, in Raging Bull, and Wallace Beery, in The Champ.

We took inspiration from vintage boxing posters and combined the style with an asymmetrical layout to create a contemporary gritty, modern look.

The campaign included both B2B and B2C ad campaigns, outdoor, PR materials, and a media/influencer promotion.

Serving as Creative Director on the project and marketing campaigns, I guided my team to develop one of the most unique marketing promotions ever made - a 4-foot tall inflated punching bag toy. The punching bag was shipped inflated across the US to select media outlets and influencers, and was on of Turner Classic Movies most successful promotions. It created such demand, that a smaller desktop bunching bag was produced to satisfy clients who did not receive the larger bag.

Summer of Darkness

Each Friday in July and August, Turner Classic Movies presents 24-hour marathons of some of the most pessimistic stories ever told on film, with unhappy endings the rule rather than the exception. TCM’s nine-week, 94-movie series "Summer of Darkness" is an expertly curated collection of Film Noir cinema that is unedited, commercial-free, and almost always in beautiful black-and-white.

For the inaugural festival, we decided to inject a lighter tone into its dark theme. We played off the phrase "a recipe for trouble" and created a description of Film Noir presented in a cooking recipe format. The visual execution used a choppy color block system reminiscent of classic Saul Bass' movie posters and titles.

The deliverables included a B2B and consumer ad campaign, posters, and visual assets for online marketing. We also created a promotional campaign targeting media outlets and influencers that included t-shirts, tote bags and refrigerator magnets. Finally, an in cinema campaign of slides with funny quotes and quizzes was distributed nationwide.

Along with the main campaigns, live-hosted screenings of film noir classics were held in key cities often with an actor or director of the film featured in person. Trivia contests were held before the screening utilizing the items created for the influencer campaign as prizes.

Early in the creative development we created a short "bumper" to pitch our Saul Bass inspired visual style of our concept to Turner Classic Movies.


Early in Turner Classic Movies network development, they produced desk and wall calendars for influencers and media outlets for end-of-year thank-you gifts. Each year a popular designer or design studio was hired to develop a theme and create the catalog. We were chosen several times and created two numerously awarded designs. The TCM Pin Up Calendar was featured in the New York Times and won the best of show in the print category at ProMax, the premiere cable industry marketing awards.

West Side Story

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of West Side Story, stars Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, and Russ Tamblyn reunited at screenings in Los Angeles and New York City to help kick off the annual film festival for Turner Classic Movies.

As the design lead and head designer of our creative team I designed the look of the campaign and guided the team in developing the materials for the event and the consumer marketing campaign.

The deliverables by our creative team included an award-winning invitation design, posters, banners, event program, and promotional merchandise.


Turner Classic Movies core marketing strategy was to use its vast film library to developed genre based on-air film festivals. Each festival was treated as a unique, branded event supported by multi-channel marketing and advertising campaigns.

Each film festival included advertising campaigns in entertainment trade publications, media trade publications, and often consumer publications.

Below is a curated collection of the amazing, design focused ads created for each event or festival.

if that was not enough

Below is a collection of some of my favorite digital ephemera and detritus collected over the years working as part of Turner Classic Movies' creative team. It includes small assets from individual campaigns I love, ideas that were killed before they could see the light of day, and creative elements from incredible events and campaigns not featured above.