Recently I’ve been designing a movie poster for my Graphic Design class and part of the learning experience is finding out what not to do. Our professor showed us this very informative short about how movie posters are made in the big leagues: aka, Hollywood. I offer it for your viewing pleasure.
Movie Poster Floating Heads from Funny or Die —> Click to watch
[I’m very sorry about the link. I tried to embed it, but WordPress doesn’t like the embed link for some reason.]
Okay, so honestly, I’ve never realized this before! I guess I don’t pay enough attention to modern Hollywood. *cough, cough*
The other component of our lectures in preparation for the movie poster assignment was several Powerpoints of Polish film posters. The Poles are world renown for their eclectic designs of film posters. They famously misrepresent (or at least it seems that way to us) the films they are depicting. According to my prof, the reason for this misrepresentation is that the posters were made by artists who had not yet seen the film. They were creating the posters to be used as promotional material for underground theaters in Communist Poland (Poland was communist from 1945-1989). So, when they were designing, they had a limited little verbal sketch of what this film was about. Most likely provided by a shady character who was smuggling in bootleg copies of the films. (Sounds rather like film itself, doesn’t it?)
My friend Lolita is coincidentally doing a superb series showcasing these Polish posters, so I refer you to her amazing posts – Freaky Film Posters or: Do They Feel All Right In Poland? (part 1) (part 2)
These two are my favorites of the ones Lolita shared. Obviously the first is Casablanca (1942). Lolita is right that it would be a stronger piece without the speech bubble. If you cover up the bubble with your hand, you can see how the poster is way more powerful. I think the person who designed this poster really had seen Casablanca before designing it. You can’t get that close to the storyline without at least one viewing.
The second poster is a bit of a puzzle at first glance. Look carefully. The strange abstract tower-like object is actually a train signal. Then we have darkness, a bright spot in the corner and a silhouetted couple in the foreground. Any guesses so far? Yup, it’s none other than Brief Encounter (1945)!
Here they are side by side with the Hollywood originals. How do think the Poles stack up?
Brief Encounter, Polish and American. Notice the floating head syndrome on the left in the American poster. I do love the illustration style of the American one, though!
Casablanca, Polish and American. Boy us Americans are really plagued with this floating head thing!
**You know, all the time I’ve been writing this post the text at the top of that Polish Casablanca poster has been reminding me of something. I just figured out what it is. Check out this cover from a Manhattan Transfer CD:
Very similar, no? I wonder who this artist was inspired by?
Well, that’s all for now folks. But stay tuned for a peek at the poster I designed from all this inspiration!