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CHILDHOOD TRAUMA: Last Unicorn Packaging Design

Updated: Jun 20, 2021

Cartoons were a huge influence on me growing up in the 80s. There were some cool series like Thundercats and He-Man as well as bizarre ones like Denver the Last Dinosaur and Superted. The highlight of my youth however was the unique assortment of feature length animated movies that we were offered for entertainment. The Disney renaissance wasn't scheduled to start until the conclusion of the decade so until The Little Mermaid sparked off a new wave of family friendly Disney movies we had animated adventures that enthralled chrildren almost as much as it terrified them. Titles like The Secrets of Nimh, Flight of Dragons, Watership Down, The Adventures of Mark Twain and Dot and the Kangaroo all included elements of genuine fear and horror within what we considered a 'family friendly' film. It made sense. Amongst the most recognisable and 'fondly' remembered is the animated adaptation of Peter S. Beagle's fantasy novel The Last Unicorn.

The story centres on an immortal unicorn who discovers she is the last of her kind after rumours of a demonic bull drove the others into the sea.

It's a beautifully animated adventure movie with wizards, knights, kings and fantastical beasts. It also however includes, death, the agony of mortality, an alcoholic skeleton and a giant bird with three breasts.

Being commissioned to create the artwork for the Astro Mediabook release of The Last Uicorn was a childhood dream for me. The Last Unicorn contains topics and themes substantially more sophisticated than other animated features in its genre which I always felt was overlooked in its marketing and packaging design. Previous cover designs had the glistening, majestic unicorn floating in front of an ocean of stars as its primary image. It looked like a whimsical fairytale designed to be mistaken for a My Little Pony cartoon. Even the terrifying and intimidating Red Bull was reduced to a small stain in the lower corner of the cover. Finally I had an opportunity to create an image that reminded original viewers of the magic but also the horror and fear of The Last Unicorn. Nightmarish adversaries flickering in the flames of The Red Bull as he looms over our heroes. Not a tiny little speck like in the original title but an enormous force that can't be contained in a single image.

Astro are releasing 4 ltd edition mediabooks of The Last Unicorn. Our artwork features on the cover of three of them as well as the internal booklet cover and disc art. Links to purchase the 4 covers can be found here.

Following the mediabook's release the titles quickly sold out ad left behind a nice number of unboxing with a lot of praise for the artwork. I absolutely adore watching the reactions of collectors holding the titles for the first time and seeing the artwork in person.

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