an oscar nomination

While the big-name shops were out scrambling for multimillion accounts, a small boutique just outside Los Angeles has snared one of the most high-profile assignments in the business.

SwartAd, a six-person shop in Glendale, Calif., was chosen to create the official commemorative poster for this year’s Academy Awards. The blue and gold poster will be used in print ads, distributed to 13,000 movie theaters and hung on banners from lampposts around L.A.

“It was a nice phone call to get,” said Alex Swart, a 15-year veteran of the L.A. ad business who opened his shop in 1996. But the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave him only vague directions and demanded a quick turnaround time. “They told me they wanted something modern, dramatic and elegant, and they said I had two weeks to do it,” said Swart.

To prepare, Swart spent two days listening to Beethoven. “It’s dramatic and not mushy,” he said.

While he wouldn’t say how much he got paid, Swart is hoping for an invite to the March 24 ceremony. “I’ll have my tux pressed just in case,” he said.