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.