Creating the Perfect Movie Poster

Fellow film lovers! I watched a movie recently that you would love. It’s called 24x36: A MOVIE ABOUT MOVIE POSTERS. As you might guess, it’s about movie posters! The documentary takes viewers on a visual history from the classic art compositions from the golden age of Hollywood, to today’s current collector culture.

Watching the movie reminded me of this post from our blog archives, laying out what makes a great poster from a marketing standpoint. Revisit and enjoy!

— -

Movie posters are works of art. When done right, they can be iconic, collectible, and set the tone for your entire marketing campaign.

But their first purpose is to be effective tools for getting people to watch your movie. Here’s what to consider when creating your one-sheet.

1. Who is your target audience? Who is this poster talking to? Is it children, teenagers, environmental activists? Use imagery and design elements that are familiar and speak to your target group.

The first SHREK movie poster uses bright colors and goofy characters to appeal to families.

2. Where will you be selling your film? If you plan to distribute widely theatrically, you’ll be able to print full-size posters, and thus have a more detailed, text-heavy design. But if you think you’ll mostly be distributing your film through video-on-demand, you’ll want something simpler that will look good as a thumbnail image.

Just the basics — no frills, nothing extraneous. This SHREK poster works well when small, and counts on name recognition or user curiosity to click and learn more.

3. What are your strongest elements? Do you have a big-name actor in a leading role? Is your movie big on thrills or action sequences, or does it have strong romantic themes? Bring people in with visual elements that show off the best parts of the film.

Playing up the star power for this version of the first SHREK poster.

This version plays up the elements of adventure.

4. Let’s talk about that tagline. Do you really need one? Sometimes a poster can be stronger without this common marketing tactic.

Less is more in the SHREK THE THIRD poster.

5. What is your poster really selling? What is the call to action?

This version for SHREK FOREVER AFTER wants you to take note of the theatrical opening night.