The challenge

Develop a strategy, campaign, brand identity and visual design for a major independent motion picture to be released nationwide and across the globe in theaters and streaming.

The outcome

Designed and developed a foundation brand strategy, brand tone and voice, marketing and advertising design, film key art, and logomark.

Scope of work / Personal contribution

  • Brand identity
  • Logomark design
  • Social media design strategy
  • Advertising and Marketing tone / voice
  • Copywriting
  • Art Direction
  • Consultancy
  • Digital design and brand system
  • Print design
  • Photography

'87 was heaven...

Set in 1987, a young Italian-American from the "wrong side of the tracks" (Queens, NY) falls for a Jewish girl from Long Island. Cruise is a summer romance film written and directed by Robert Siegel. Starring Spencer Boldman, Emily Ratajkowski, Lucas Salvagno, Noah Robbins, Gino Cafarelli, Katherine Narducci and Sebastian Maniscalco.

In collaboration with Vertical Entertainment, Universal Pictures, AG Capital and in association with Hulu - I developed the initial brand design, key art and led the strategy and creative direction for online social media and marketing strategy behind the initial release of the film in U.S. domestic markets.

Defining the brand

In collaboration with Vertical Entertainment, AG Capital and Universal Pictures, I collaborated and facilitated the creative direction and brand identity for the film.

Building a brand for a film requires research and defining the target audiences. Each film is meant to resonate to specific audiences and clearly defining who a film is for will impact sales, develop brand loyalty, create word of mouth advertising and drive overall market results.

Taking into account specific elements of the film, who it is for and how the story can impact an audience defines how the brand and design should be executed. The design needs to capture the attention of the targeted audience and communicate a feeling and tone around the film story. It works in conjunction with the film and is meant to serve the greater story of the film's narrative.

For this effort, research was done around the movie, the target audience, developing brand attributes, and aligning with design and brand elements from Queens NY circa 1987. It's a delicate balancing act of research, branding, strategy, ideation and direction to create a final result that captures the attention and communicates to gain interest and inspire the target audience to watch the film.

Differentiation was an important aspect to developing the overall look and feel of the brand. In a world saturated with 1980's era films and marketing that begins to look similar and blend together, we pushed to find the key parts of the film that resonate with specific target audiences to land on the final design and brand strategy.

Brand attributes defined

Understanding the audience

The film’s brand needed to resonate with the target audience. Through developing personas, psychographics, demographics and understanding the wants and needs of the film’s target audience, I used this research and information to guide the creative direction of the film’s look and feel.

Understanding the key target audience(s) is crucial developing the creative direction, art direction, design and strategy. Each visual and communication element needed to be highly considered and curated to resonate, capture the attention and engage the target audience.

Research was conducted on current trends, visual trends, pop-culture and aligned with the nostalgic approach of culture and design from the 1980s era to align with the look and feel of the film. All of these elements were combined, mapped, researched and aligned to produce the final outcome of the U.S. domestic key art for the film. Which then led to informing the look and feel of the overall marketing campaigns.

Brand Archetypes Defined

Stay at home mom

Young cultural female

Blue collar worker


Positioning defines who the film and story is championing. Through research, discovery, brand attributes and user personas, the positioning statement anchors the internal vision for the film and aligns all key stakeholders to a single direction. This is later used to develop the overarching creative direction.

The positioning statement takes into account all of the research, analysis, feedback, understandings, target audience and goals for the project. This information is then deciphered to create a foundational positioning statement to align all stakeholders in creative, business and marketing to move forward on a single vision and approach. Every decision needs to strategically anchor back to this positioning statement.

Positioning statement

Cruise provides an 80's story through film to culturally connected audiences in a romantic environment with an electric and entertaining voice.

Tone and Voice

Messaging around the campaign is developed under the overall creative direction. Through a series of collaborations, discussions, work sessions and strategic sessions - I led the collaboration to decipher the overall tone and voice that should align with the forthcoming visual creative.

Looking over the research, analysis, and target audience information, we decided that the overall tone and voice should take on a "rebellious lovers" attitude and direction for the copy and content. This means that in alignment to the visual elements, the copy needed to reflect an overall tone that speaks to this sentiment for a successful campaign.

Tone and voice

Rebellious lovers

Project Goals

  • Develop a strong brand system that resonates
  • Discover and build a brand that is differentiated within the industry
  • Identify the brand target audience
  • Develop a logo mark
  • Develop a tone and voice for the brand
  • Create a strategic approach for digital marketing
  • Build a creative team and manage asset production
  • Oversee and art direct in conjunction with distribution and creative agencies


To create a brand around a film set in 1987 Queens NY, it was important to do research around the visual tone and culture of the era. This research was used to translate to a new brand identity that aligned with the nostalgic elements of the 80's, while still maintaining a sense of modern design, brand and marketing.

Research was done by collecting and creating moodboards - hundred of photos, inspiration, design elements and research was collected. Videos, films, and music were collected to understand the tone of media. Research on typography related to our target audiences from that era was done to understand the cultural relevance of type in marketing during 1987. Colors and pallets were explored and collected to form the color and tones used in the final brand and key art.

All of these elements were explored and used to inform the creative direction. These were then used to inform the final execution of the design and brand.

Creative Direction

After all the research, brand attributes, strategy, positioning and approach has been defined, the next step is to explore the creative direction. Here, I gave the client a few creative directions that were aligned to our initial work around the brand attributes, target audiences and combined these with the research of the creative elements that informed the 1980's era.

The client reviewed and we discussed the different directions that could be taken along each of these ideas. Each direction weighing heavily in a certain visual direction that is informed by the strategy, brand attributes and target audience.

The direction was to take the "electric" approach while hinging subtly on the "romantic" side of the film. These will begin to reveal themselves in the final key art design.


After uncovering valuable information from discovery and research, the next phase is to explore different visual opportunities through an overarching creative process. The brands cape exercise serves to offer various visual directions that anchor back to the research and discovery previously done. This allows a broader visual exploration in various directions to translate the research and discovery into a visual representation. This provides the client visual options and ideas that will then become filtered and narrowed down to a single direction. The next phase is to narrow in and focus on a single brands cape to begin establishing a formalized brand identity with color, textures, type, imagery, tone and design.

Logo identity

  • Handwritten and unique
  • Neon sign inspired
  • Must scale and work at any size
  • Can be used in print or digital environments
  • Immediately resonates to audiences as 80's inspired
  • Tied to a strong brand identity system
  • Differentiated logo mark
  • Identify with the brand target audience
  • Inspires the tone and voice for the brand strategy

Brand Identity

The brand identity was developed out of research, strategy, and creative direction. With all of the initial work done to identify brand attributes, target audiences, and goals for the marketing, the brand identity serves as a functional and holistic approach to create the foundation of the marketing, campaign, and identity to be used across various mediums. The identity is developed to align with the initial work done prior to the design execution - this is the only way to ensure success and measure the impact across brand attributes, target audiences and business goals.

Theatrical Key Art

After developing the initial brand identity, the next step was to create the final key art. Using the information from the research, creative direction and brand identity, I created a design that specifically targeted our key audience demographics. I provided 3 versions of designs to the client and after revisions and approvals, this is the final design we landed on.


By aligning the film with creative and branding that focuses on target audiences, the campaign was launched in conjunction with the film in select theaters across the U.S., garner distribution throughout the world, and stream for video on demand.



Vertical Entertainment
Universal Pictures
AG Capital

Creative Direction

Jordan W Lee

Art Direction

Jordan W Lee

Other contributors

Submersive Media
Attilio Rigotti
Diego Najera
Channing Day Abers
Hannah Lawerence

Writer / Director

Robert Siegel

Produced by

Alex Garcia
Scott LaStati
Holly Brown
Laura Walker

Executive producers

Robert Seigel
Gino Cafarelli

Director of photography

Noah Greenberg


Spencer Boldman
Emily Ratajkowski
Lucas Salvagno
Noah Robbins
Gino Cafarelli
Katherine Narducci
Sebastian Maniscalco