One of the most publicized examples of graphic design is the movie poster. Think about it, nearly every movie has one regardless of its budget. Like other products and their promotional material, the movie poster almost instantly makes people decide if they want to see that movie.
Like a good logo design, a good movie poster design can stand the test of time, and elements of a great design will be seen in other creations as time goes on. That’s the case with the poster designs of the 1950s and 2000s as both of the decade’s top designs feature warm colors and optical illusions.
And sometimes, it’s not the original design that gets the accolades as is the case with Gone with the Wind. It’s not the 1939 design — which features Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in a passionate kiss against a white background — that people remember. It’s the 1968 version from the film’s 13th-anniversary re-release that tickles people’s fancies. This design features Gable and Leigh in a passionate embrace on the verge of a kiss against a bright, orange and yellow fiery background with smaller images of cowboys riding away at the bottom.
Monsters, science fiction, and dinosaurs played a large role in the designs of the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s. It’s hard not to think of Jaws and Star Wars: A New Hope when you think of the blockbusters of the 1970s. The design for Jaws manages to scare the audience before they even see the opening credits, while the out-of-this-world design for Star Wars was just enough to peak the audience’s curiosity.
Special effect photos started playing a major role in the 1980s as was the case when a bit of space came to Earth for E.T. The poster for Jurassic Park mimicked the simple design from the book cover but also was a prime example of how warmer colors began creeping back into designs in the 1990s.
Regardless of its elements, the one thing these designs have in common is they tell a story. This infographic from Company Folders also tells a story, the story of the evolution of movie poster designs. And it’s no surprise that half of the poster designs are for films that place in the top 25 highest grossing films of all time when adjusted for inflation. Take a look to see if your favorite movie’s poster design didn’t get left on the cutting room floor.
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