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MOVIE POSTER MESSAGES: urban comms #8


Movie Posters have been around for a long time and are a common form of Urban Communication that promote a film. This kind of advertising is often dismissed by the movie experience itself, in that we don’t remember what the poster looked like after we have seen the film.

For many Graphic Designers though creating a movie poster is a work of art, and many movie posters do become collectors items. One poster designer in particular the legendary Bill Gold  has been designing posters for 70 yrs! Check out his career posters and see the way his style (and movies) changed over the years.

There are however a number of important things that a poster design has to convey as a piece of media communications. The first thing a designer will have to work within is the layout which is called the poster format which is normally a 41¨x 27¨vertical ratio.

A movie poster as a promotional message has to do 7 things. 

1.  DRAW ATTENTION TO ITSELF

Usually you will see a movie poster in a magazine, a newspaper, on a bill board or in the shopping mall, it has to attract attention it is competing with a thousand other promotional messages out there in the urban environment.

2. CONVEY SOMETHING ENGAGING ABOUT THE FILM WITHOUT GIVING THE STORY AWAY

Other than reviews & word of mouth a movie choice is often decided at the last minute and a quick look at a poster ad is either going to help make that decision to buy a ticket or not. If the viewer can be engaged in the promise of a great film experience quickly, there will probably be a decision to go see that movie.There has to be a balance of information with this. You don’t want to promote a spoiler.

3. CREATE AN INTEREST IN SEEING IT BY PLACING THE VIWER IN SOME KEY SCENE

The 3rd point is often achieved by showing graphically a key scene putting the viewer in the story.eg Inception.

4. MENTION KEY CAST & PRODUCTION CREW ie LEAD ACTORS, DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, MUSIC COMPOSER ect

This is after all an information message that has to inform people as to who is in the film and who has made it.These days the Director’s other films are disclosed in the copy.

5. COME UP WITH A CATCHY SLOGAN THAT SUMS UP THE FILMS KEY NARRATIVE ELEMENT

This important piece of text sums up the the story and conveys the general meaning of the film. It must stay in the viewers mind as an intriguing idea or as an unresolved emotional predicament.A juxtaposition of meaning is often used.

6. ADOPT A DEIGN STYLE THAT IS ALIGNED TO THE MOVIE GENRE

Obviously a science fiction movie should have a futuristic style of font, what ever the genre the layout design & typography should be in keeping with type of film.



7. BE A WORK OF ART IN ITSELF

A movie poster can stand out by itself as an icon of design it may be framed and be hung on a wall, appear on a T Shirt or get displayed in an art gallery. Graphically literate people appreciate good design in a movie poster.

ASSIGNMENT : The next time you see a film check out the poster layout. You will be designing a movie poster for a home work assignment very soon.

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