Alien 1979 poster
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20th Century Fox

Philip Gips, poster designer for Superman and Alien, dies at 88

Contributed by
Oct 4, 2019

Even if you've never seen a movie Philip Gips worked on, you've likely seen his work. 

Gips, a prolific poster artist, graphic designer, and advertising executive, passed away Thursday at the age of 88 in White Plains, New York, per Deadline. While he more many hats over the course of his career, he's perhaps best known for designing the posters for everything from comic book movie trailblazer Superman, to sci-fi classic Alien, to horror masterpiece Rosemary's Baby

Born in 1931, Gips opened an advertising firm in Manhattan back in the early 1960s, which started a lucrative venture that continued well into the 1990s. Along the way, he created some of the medium's most recognized and revered designs. 

For Roman Polanski's 1968 supernatural fever-dream, Gips used a sparse profile image of star Mia Farrow, saturated in green and juxtaposed against the silhouette of a baby carriage on a stark, bleak landscape. While not a still from the film, it teased the deeply layered story that stepped outside the bounds of the mainstream, conventional horror at the time. 

Rosemary's Baby poster

Paramount Pictures

He continued this approach with the poster for 1979's Alien, which stands as one of Gips' best-known works. For Ridley Scott's claustrophobic sci-fi horror, Gips managed to create something both intriguing and terrifying with only an alien egg releasing an ominous green glow. The tagline, 'In space no one can hear you scream,' was written by Gips' wife, Barbara Joan Solinger, and further elevated the minimalist design. 

Alien 1979 poster

20th Century Fox

Some of Gips' work has even found a home at the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, including the movie poster for the 1974 softcore film, Emmanuelle. He also designed the logo for ESPN, which is still used by the network to this day, as well as for The History Channel, and the rock band .38 Special. 

Gips is survived by his wife, Barbara, and children Steven, Dana, Michael, David, and James Gips.


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