Digital Imaging: Movie Poster Research

Image result for film

Main Film genres

  • Action
  • Adventure
  • Comedy
  • Horror
  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy

… and the list goes on…


Purpose of Film Posters

Main purpose: advertise and inform

Information: Release date, actors, BBFC certification (age limit)

Give audience an insight to the genre and film

They focus on visual elements such as, powerful photographs and graphics to make posters attention grabbing and something the audience would want to see.

Things to note:

  • Eye catching- grab the attention of passerbys
  • Iconography – show, not tell
  • Interest and appeal -make your audience curious
  • Style- helps to show the movie
  • Lasting Appeal -something that leaves an impression


A good poster then is one which is attention-grabbing, succinct, convincing and memorable.

Types of Film posters 

From: Adobe Creative Magazine

Tomasz Opasinski’s groupings


  • Metaphor-based Designs

Abstract images


  • Word-based Designs

Literal interpretations of key elements in the movie


  • Curve-based Designs 

  • “Do Whatever you Feel” Like Designs

Examples of some film posters




Image result for the art of steal poster



Memento Movie Poster

Some case studies

Composition: Centralized. There are guiding lines from the knives.

Key Elements: Main character, kitchen Knife

My Response: why is this poor mouse being targeted? Why is there a chef hat there on the title of the film?


Composition: Centralized. Use of contrast to bring out the smaller fishes against the shark

Key Elements: Main characters, fear

My Response: What is happening to the fish? Is the Shark going to eat them? 


Composition: Centralized. Use of Light and atmosphere to set the mood. (back-lighting)

Key Elements: characters?



Composition: Centralized. Contrast is employed to bring out the character.

Key Elements: A creature? In a jellyfish ?

My Response: is that ‘ponyo’?



I realised all the animated film posters that I analyzed, they are all using a very centralized composition.

I believe a centralized composition is employed to have a very direct impact on the audience. It may also be because information can be placed in a very organized manner since the main visual images are in the center. Although centralized compositions are flat and perhaps boring, they get the message across very quickly and directly.

I think I will employ a centralized composition as well.

What I can explore will be WHAT to illustrate.

There is use of contrast or guiding lines to guide the viewer’s attention to the focal point in every single movie poster.

It has to be clear WHAT is happening and evoke a certain reaction.


When creating a film poster…

  • capture the essence of the film
  • show one of the key elements
  • set the mood right
  • capture the audience’s attention




7 Elements of a Great Movie Poster Design




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