Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login

:icontechgnotic: More from techgnotic

Featured in Collections

Jornais by peepson

Good to read by DianaGrigore

Journals by Roachguts

More from DeviantArt


Submitted on
March 29, 2012
Submitted with Writer


60,712 (5 today)
618 (who?)

:icontechgnotic:by techgnotic
Thu Mar 29, 2012, 7:00 PM

For many of us, the first “art gallery” to command our attention (and constant, even daily, monitoring) in our
lives existed within the pages of the local newspaper. It was called “the movie section” and its ever-changing movie
advertisements were like little frames that rarely contained less than pure magic for young imaginations.

The Film Poster has existed since the earliest days of silent movies and the pulse-elevating excitement of the
first sight of an upcoming adventure, action, or sweeping love story that we might have only “heard good things about”
still packs a psychic punch throughout movie lovers today.

It is the first “portal” for the imagination into just what this new adventure (or continuation of an already beloved
adventure) is going to be like in a few months. It’s that sometimes simple, sometimes cluttered first collage of exotic
locales, speeding cars, blazing gun barrels, massively-muscled heroes and deeply-cleavaged damsels all projecting some sort
of explosion that tells you that no matter how badly your life may be going at the moment, just hang on because your needed
adrenaline pick-me-up is on the way.

Ghost Rider Illustrated Movie Poster by nicolehayleyJaws Movie Poster by NewRandombellGodzilla by ron-guyatt

Film Posters are a special form of art in that besides being one of the earliest experiences of art that we have, as portals
for innocent wonder, they are also purposely brutal as marketing tools that can greatly enhance or totally wreck a movie’s chance
at success. If a film poster does not immediately and effectively communicate the essence of a movie in a way the excites the desire
of its intended audience, careers can be shortened or ended. The American movie and the film poster art so important to its domestic
and international releases are at once exercises in dreaming and wonder but also coldly calculated tools for economic life and death.
Sort of both the light side and the dark side of the American Dream as yin and yang elements of commercial storytelling.

Film Poster art so totally insinuates itself into our conscience and subconscious from a young age, that our perceptions and
evaluations of all visual arts can’t help but be influenced by the leading “masters” of this special art form.

How many of us know the name of Drew Struzan?

Even though his work on film posters have influenced every one to come after him or even the posters that might be hanging on your wall?

Richard Amsel’s Indiana Jones poster is so indelibly burned into a generation's brain that other art (in comics or even fine arts) not looking similar just don’t seem right.

SUPERMAN : MAN of STEEL 2012 by MedusoneBatman Beyond by tiguybou:thumb149738585:

It’s no wonder that there’s so much film poster fan art in deviantART. Re-imagining in attempt of re-capturing the first thrill of
awareness of what would eventually become a favorite movie is the sort of aesthetic wizardry that drives so many artists – to express
that first pulse, that first rush of what has now become an integral part of one’s “inner narrative,” one’s emotional and artistic
identity. It’s like a tribute to a core source of one’s evolving aesthetic and pop culture soul.

The best film poster art is almost magical, like a once-in-a-lifetime capturing of lightning in a bottle. The urban legend is
that director Ridley Scott (or was it one of his producers?) was checking out the test audience lined up on a sidewalk at midnight awaiting a
sneak preview of “Alien.” There he overheard one science geek saying to another what would become of his movie’s perfect poster tagline: “In
space no one can hear you scream.” That is “Alien” defined: the terror of no possible rescue in utter isolation. That is, in both its creation
and execution, real film poster magic.

Questions for the Reader

  1. Do you think Film Poster art will decline in its quality and creativity, now that movies are being packaged as DVDs or digitally downloaded?
  2. What was the first movie poster that made you crazed in wanting to see a movie? What’s the best recent film poster art you’ve seen?
  3. What’s your favorite movie poster of all time?
  4. Is there a movie poster you’d like to frame and hang in your home, simply for the genius artfulness of the poster, even the movie being advertised turned out to be horrible?
  5. What movie poster(s) hang(s) on the walls of your current dwelling?

Add a Comment:
Aoua Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2012
What a great article! The poster can make our desire to see a film, it's the first impression...

So, I think that it will always be a major part of a movie, just as the album cover for a CD.

One of the best recent film poster art I’ve seen was about 'Sin City', simple, yet elegant, capturing the atmosphere of the original graphic novel.

As for my favorite movie poster of all time, I would say the one for 'The Party' by Jack Davis.
SilentHill007 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
1. maybe it will happen
2. Tae Guk Gi
3. Inception :D
4. not yet
5. not yet '_'
justicefrog Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012  Professional General Artist
Wow, I sure hope the legions of fans from don't find out about this article. For the most part they feel that movie poster art is LOST, that we are now in the age of "badly-photoshopped-assembly-line-movie-posters." Mention the most recent series of Avengers posters, and you will incur their full wrath.

1. I have noticed a decline myself. Growing up in the eighties, it seemed like no two movie posters were the same. They were all fantastic, and it seemed like some actual thought went into their composition. Nowadays, go by your local theater and look at the marquees lined up outside. It's almost embarrassing to see two or three lined up next to each other that look so much alike. Some color schemes, same composition.... it's like they get the same two or three people now to design all the posters. I feel like the most well designed posters have always been the simplest, using mostly red and black schemes. Jurassic Park immediately springs to mind.

2. That would be Return of the Jedi, since it's the farthest back that I can remember. But I was in first grade, I didn't really understand art and design back then, I just loved Star Wars, hahaha. I remember the Temple of Doom poster as well. The first Captain America poster last year comes to mind as far as a recent, decent example, but before that I thought the posters for Inception and Dark Knight were fantastic (even though not using red and black schemes, they were still simplistic and imaginative).

3. Amsel's Raiders of the Lost Ark

4. See above

5. I don't have any posters hanging today, I had to get rid of all of them after starting a family! But before that I collected action movie posters in my college dorm room. And they were all John Woo films: The Killer, Hard Target, FaceOff, Broken Arrow, etc.
justicefrog Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012  Professional General Artist
#1 Whoops! "Some color schemes" should read "SAME color schemes"
Takeshi357 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2012
1. It has already happened. The "floating heads" syndrome is a good example of that.
2. A poster alone has rarely made me want to see a movie; it might pique my curiosity but I can honestly say that usually I only see the posters AFTER the movie - I don't go to the cinemas all that often.
3. Hard to say, but if I had to pick one, it'd probably be the Polish poster for "The Terminator"; It's slightly more restrained than most Polish posters, and I love the alternate title they gave to it; you don't need to know Polish to tell it says "Electronic Murderer".
4. Absolutely; Zardoz and Caligula.
5. Star Wars (the original) and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
wasleeper Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2012  Professional General Artist
To all the people who talk about great posters still coming out, I applaud your positive attitude but I think I need to make a point or two, so as to bring everyone back to earth. I wrote a paper for a graduate art class on the history and decline of the movie poster. It culminated with a short 7 question interview with Mr. Struzan himself (who was more than gracious in helping me out), who basically laid out his belief that in a general since the movie poster as art is dead. I agree and I will lay out my reasons here.

1. Several people mentioned that they are both art and advertising, however the few that are very well designed are utter failures in their intended purpose, lorellashray mentioned the Hunger Games, the wide release poster I saw is nothing more than a flaming eagle emblem. how does that tell me anything about the movie? The same for John Carter, I know several people who went to see that and thought it was an ok movie, but they almost skipped it because between bad trailers and a bad POSTER they had no idea what it was about.

2. Nearly all movie posters (except animated movies) are nothing but cut and pasted photocraped junk. I am not just saying that as a mostly traditional medium artist, Many all digital artists (some right here at deviant art) are capable of doing digital paintings that blow your mind, but again that is exactly opposite of what hollywood wants. They simply need a quickly, cheaply done bit of junketed advertising, to tease movies ahead of time.

3. Don't believe me? pick up a copy of Drews newest book, The Art of Drew Struzan, and read about his Hellboy movie poster. (The synopsis is Del Toro gnawed at the studio about getting Drew to do the poster, he is hired and paid, he turns in a great piece of true art, they sit it aside refuse to use it). The movie poster as art design maybe still be limping around but the movie poster as a true and unique form of fine art, is dead. Thank you Hollywood :P.
lorellashray Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2012  Student General Artist
also, fantastic article yet again, the examples are inspiring and the questions are always extremely thought provoking :D
lorellashray Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2012  Student General Artist
1. i'm completely confident they won't. After all, posters are a form of advertisement as well as art and without good advertisement films wouldn't be successful at all. Even as digital files, films would still need an image to be associated with, otherwise the only thing that would differentiate them in a list or menu would be their name. The fact always remains that people want to get glimpses of what the film will be like before they actually watch it, so i highly doubt poster art will decline in any way because it will always be necessary even as technology advances.
2. The best recent poster art i've seen would probably be the hunger games or the amazing spiderman. i may be biased towards the hunger games due to being a fan of the books but i still think the choice for the posters were fantastic, the flaming mockingjay is a main symbol in the book and easily identifiable for a hunger games fan, so makes a great poster and is very eye-catching in the use of colour. The amazing spiderman poster was slightly surreal. At first it looked like the spider with the 4 elongated legs used in the logo, but on closer inspection it turned out to be Peter Parker/spiderman perched up high between two adjacent walls, with the shape of the spider being created from the shadows cast by his limbs connecting with the walls.
3. don't really have a favourite, though i have to say i always find teaser posters more interesting than posters released closer to the film dates. The teaser posters tend to be more abstract and draw you in more, and generally more artistic (more like the examples you've given) i think.
4. probably the hunger games mockingjay poster, even though i thought the film was fantastic i would've still bought the poster simply because i like the content of it and how dramatic it is.
5. i don't usually buy movie posters, but sadly i do have one twilight poster (that someone bought for me a while ago) which i will promptly remove and replace with a hunger games one :)
sebastopolroad Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2012
Its easy to romanticize the design of the past and dismiss anything current, but the fact is, there's just as much great design now as there has ever been, if not more. I don't think DVD and digital media have much to do with it, if anything that forces film makers to have to try even harder to get people to watch their film, since there is so much competition. The difference between current posters and past posters is that both film making and graphic design are exponentially more accessible than they ever have been before, so there are exponentially more films and more design being made than ever before. A lot of it is great, a lot of it is bad, which has always been true, but now there's more to sift through. You have to dig a little harder to find the gems, but they're still there.
Add a Comment: