The red ribbon and bow design from the movie, Love Actually, is widely copied emulated, we’ll show how to make a version in Microsoft Office, Word or PowerPoint.
You’ll often see Christmas designs inspired by the poster. On the same day Peter saw two different ads at a train station, both using the same look. That encounter with design duplication led to this article.
Here’s the original Love Actually film poster (left) and the soundtrack cover (right).
They have the same design elements with different overall proportions. The biggest difference is the red ribbon which has a realistic gradient effect on the poster but a plain color on the CD cover.
Here’s our version all done in Word with in-built features and some open licenced images found from the Office Online Pictures dialog.
BONUS – Christmas Cheer with Office
We’ve added the finished product as a Word document to the over 100 templates that already come with Christmas Cheer with Office. Past customers can download their ebook to get the extra template (because of the late addition, it’s not mentioned in the text but in the attachments as ‘Christmas … Actually design.docx ).
We’ll show how to make the overall look, you can use any images you like with any text that suits you.
The same design could be used for birthdays, anniversaries or other ‘gift’ occasion.
Yet again, we turn to Office Tables (in Word or PowerPoint) with no visible borders to arrange text and elements.
Create a 3 x 3 table.
Change the table settings in Table Tools | Layout | Properties:
- First and Third columns are the same width
- Middle row height and column width (the ribbons) are the same.
Top row is 33% larger than the bottom row (i.e the original poster has three photos/rows above the red stripe and two below). Don’t worry too much about the top and bottom row heights, adjust them later once the images are added.
There are some overall table settings that are better set at the beginning because later they’d have to be changed for individual cells.
The design background is an off-white not the Office default white. Select the table then Table Design | Shading and choose a shade (we went with White Background 1, Darker 5%).
Also with the whole table selected, change the cell alignment to fully centred (horizontal and vertical). That will make positioning of images easier.
Finally, remove any visible borders at Table Design | Borders | No border. Ensure that View Gridlines is on.
The red color for the horizontal and vertical bars can be any shade you wish. We chose RGB: 192, 0,0 based on the original poster.
Select the middle row then Table Design | Shading | More Colors to set the color you want. Repeat for the middle column.
Add any images you like from any source you’re permitted or photos from your own collection.
Insert into each cell, positioning should be in the middle of the cell because of the overall cell alignment set above.
Any unwanted background (top left and bottom right images) can be fixed by Picture Tools | Remove Background.
Extra ribbon on top
Optionally, extend the vertical red ribbon at the top (see the film poster above). The easy way to do that is adding an extra row at the top of the table which will automatically copy the formatting from the row below.
A pretty bow on top
Finally, add a bow to the ribbon.
There is a bow Icon (Insert | Icons search for bow), colorize it to suit.
Search images by color
Modern Office’s Insert | Online Pictures has a useful search option hiding at the bottom of the filter options. It’s possible to search by color.
Search for ‘Bow’ then click the filter ‘funnel’ and scroll to the bottom of the filters to Color, then click on the red square.
Now the search results will be images with mainly red.
Firstly insert the bow image outside the table. That makes it easier to resize and adjust without clutter.
Resize the bow to about the size you want.
To make the image appear on top of the table, right-click choose Wrap Text | In Front of Text.
Now drag the image over the table into position, usually just above the intersecting red lines.
If you wish, rotate the bow so it tilts to the left.
Font for text
The original poster text is a mix of Helvetica Black (red / bold text) and Helvetica Light (black) with no spaces.
Office for Mac has Helvetica (Apple licences the font for the Mac OS). Not specifically Helvetica Black, but there is Helvetica Bold. Helvetica Light is on the Mac font list.
The Windows equivalent of Helvetica is Arial, available are Arial Black and Arial (no Arial Light but plain Arial is fine).
Change the color of the ‘Bold’ text to the same color as the ribbon.
Any additional text is All Caps in a mix of black and the matching red color.
More things to try
That’s all the main elements in place, now you can add extras.
Add a ‘card’ to the design, either a ‘ribbon with card’ image or a separate card. Insert text onto the card.
Change the ribbon to something more realistic by using a picture instead of plain color.
To get the multiple image look from the poster, split the four main large cells into extra rows (three rows in the top cells, two rows in bottom cells), then add an image and text into each cell.
Each image can have a sub-title. Use this to add photos and names of family, friends, workmates etc.