Yesterday on the way back home i came across a giant poster of a hero mounted on a hoarding. The sheer size of it told me about the level of the celebrity status the hero enjoys. Couple of decades back, movie posters were a very effective and most relied medium of marketing. With the change in style of cinema, the designs of the poster have also evolved. With curiosity in mind i started browsing through movie posters since the 1950s and the results were really interesting.
Movie posters of 1950s
The 1950s movie posters were more of a traditional approach with hand painted scenes of the movie on a thick banner. Movies of this era focussed on many realistic topics from patriotism to rich poor divide. The dramatic gradient in the background of these posters is very interesting and mostly it used to be in the hot shades of yellow and red.
During the 1960s movies had evolved to create more drama and the focus was more on the main actors and same was the approach for the illustrations. The emphasis was more on the expression of the characters. There was also experimentation with typography in this decade.
By the 1970s, the scene depictions had reduced with character illustrations becoming most prominent and typographic treatments were less prominent. Use of actual photography instead of hand painted banners was in trend.
In the 1980s the movie started having multi starrers. Same way the poster designers went for a different approach by en-cashing on the stardom of the actors and the rest of the cast. The emphasis was more on the faces of the actors in these posters. Also, the whole poster was a collage made from faces of different actors in the movie.
The 90s the movie poster industry took a huge leap with the photographic prints. By this time the whole movie poster took more of a balanced form with equal emphasis given to photo and typography. The main actors and actresses again occupied the major portion of poster with movie scenes cutting into the lower part.
In the beginning of 2000s we saw very few changes in the trends. The color of the posters became cooler with white and blues in the background but the layout of the poster stayed the same. Availability of better printing surfaces like flex meant high resolution prints and the death of hand painted posters.
With the passage of time the movie posters became more and more standard. The experimentation and changes in the design became lesser. In the past 60 years the movie poster industry has come a long way. While the old techniques on hand painting are now limited to election banners, you never know if a 3d poster design in on the way. Will be interesting to see what the next decade brings.
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