Monday, July 12, 2010

Movie Posters

While designing and creating a new assignment for my Typography class at the Miami Ad School, I became intrigued by movie posters and movie opening credit sequences. I began to think about which movie posters I have always loved in terms of their typography, concept, approach and design. I have always felt that older movie posters relied more on a clever idea and hinting at the theme of the movie. Now, because of such strong advertising and the trends, the posters rely on showing the major movie stars or a clip from the movie with strong lighting. This often cuts off good and interesting typography and also the ability to be compelled by the movie before you see it.

I found some examples of movie posters that strike me. Some are just concepts and some are the final product.

The Great Dictator by Charles Chaplin, 1940

Metropolis by Fritz Lang, 1927

The Man with a Camera by Dziga Vertov, 1929

The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock, 1963

Anatomy of a Murder by Otto Preminger, 1959

Each of these posters alludes to the content of the movie but also its style and approach. The clever messaging and hand drawn graphics and typography catches the eye and shows the craft of the designer.

The Gangs of New York by Martin Scorsese, 2002

Taxi Driver by Martin Scorsese, 1976

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Terry Gilliam, 1998

Vacancy by Nimród Antal, 2007

Ocean's Twelve by Steven Soderbergh, 2004

Ocean's Eleven by Steven Soderbergh, 2001

The Spirit by Frank Miller, 2008

The Dark Knight by Christopher Nolan, 2008

Reservoir Dogs by Quentin Tarantino, 1992

Burn After Reading by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, 2008

Blindness by Fernando Meirelles, 2008

28 Weeks Later by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, 2007

The Shining by Stanley Kubrick, 1980

Movie posters can be an amazing showing of graphic design and advertising. With clever messaging and creative concepts, they can excited and intrigue the viewer. The examples above did more in their approach than to show a clip from the movie. They are either an homage to a graphic style, use creative typography and interesting colors, hand drawn illustrations or a carefully planned and executed layout. The combination can make them also pieces of art as well as functional and promotional.


  1. It's always bugged me when the title sequence doesn't match the movie advertising. I think they get made at different times in the process of getting the film into theaters. I remember the Talented Mr. Ripley having a good title sequence. Also, The World According to Garp, and a couple of Spike Lee movies including Jungle Fever (good poster too):

    Saul Bass was well known both for movie posters and title sequences, including the oft-copied Anatomy of a Murder.

  2. Thanks Dan for the post! I agree that there is probably a lack of collaboration between the different forces working on a film. It is most likely from a timing perspective and so many advertisers now invested in a film. Thanks for your suggestions. Those are ones I have not seen, so I will check them out!

  3. And I believe opening sequence in The Talented Mr. Ripley is an homage to the old Blue Note Records album covers.

  4. I love these. And while I can definitely see the frustration about how the posters rarely match the design for the rest of the aspects of each film, I kind of see it as the building of a film into a cultural icon, or a sort of archetype. Kind of like how concert posters almost never match a band's album artwork (or even their musical style), or how other artists interpret classic comic book characters. I like to see different interpretations of the themes and narratives.

  5. Wow....... this one is truly looking one of the exotic collection of the movie posters. As the contents and features of this post really makes me crazy about it. This one is authentically looking fun. Thanks for sharing some exceptional movie posters in this post.