We <3 Film Poster Artwork




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Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson), The Babadook (Jennifer Kent), Catch Me Daddy (Daniel Wolfe), It Follows (David Robert Mitchell), Tyrannosaur (Paddy Considine), Metropolis (Fritz Lang), Wild At Heart (David Lynch), The Fly (Kurt Neumann).

There has been some bloody great poster artwork accompanying releases recently – but it’s by no means a new trend. Film posters have been drawn since the beginning of the medium, from slinky noir montages (inspiring the primary posters for Paul Thomas Anderson’s most recent film Inherent Vice) to B-movie monster mashups, doe-eyed actresses in melodramas and everything inbetween. There is something so satisfying about an originally designed poster that captures the essence of the story in non-photographic form, but the question is why. What does it tell us about the film? Without going into too much boring detail, here’s our thoughts on what it could mean nowadays:

It wants to be seen as a piece of art.

It suggests the film has elements of surreality or abstraction.

It helps us see how the filmmaker envisaged the story, and how they want us to experience it.

It’s not flatly using whoever stars in the film to sell it, even if they feature in the poster.

It can visually connect elements of the story that the narrative of the actual film can’t.

It’s more memorable than a still from the film – and it stands out from all the other film-still-featuring posters around it.

It encourages us to see the film as imagined, or dreamed, or interpreted, and not just flatly a reproduction of life exactly as it is.

So………….. your thoughts?


One Comment

  1. I love the ‘Wild At Heart’ poster, in particular. I agree in particular with your rule that a good poster shouldn’t flatly use the stars to sell the film (‘It Follows’ is a great example of that, particularly as Maika Monroe is not yet a household name and yet has that girl-next-door look that an audience can immediately connect with in one way or another).

    I would add the caveat that a really great design can either convey the premise of a film or, at the very least, convey the underlying themes and atmosphere of the film. Recent Brit horror ‘Howl’ has a great example of this in its alt poster, which adapts the London underground logo into a full moon and perfectly conveys the whole premise of the film in a single, memorable image.


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