The Art of the
Film Poster

MOLLY

25 September 2016

When Posterlounge – the online shop for posters, art prints and wall pictures – invited me to choose some prints, I was like a kid in a sweet shop. The range is huge, and with my art history background I was delighted to see prints by many of my favourite artists, both well-known and the more obscure. But I decided to be less greedy and let my daughter and her boyfriend choose, and so we ventured into the section of film posters

The art of the film poster has a long history, with stylistic changes over the decades, but with one basic tenet that stays the same – that the poster and the film should be indelibly linked. At first sight, the poster tells the film audience what to expect before they even enter the cinema, and afterwards sight of it instantly recalls the film. Then, if it’s a good film poster, you cannot think of the film without visualising the poster. As the staff of Creative Blog put it:

“An iconic movie poster is one that has been burned onto the public consciousness, something that has become so recognisable that you feel that you’ve always known it. It should spring to mind as soon as you hear the film’s name, be easily described and trigger excitement and intrigue, no matter how many times you see it.

pulp_fiction_1994_poster

In my twenties, I asked at the local cinema if I could have the poster of Pulp Fiction after the screening run ended, and it adorned my walls for many years, until frayed at the edges and bulging with blutack, it was time to say goodbye (to it, and to my dressing like Uma Thurman’s character).

Now a similar age, my daughter also likes to adorn her walls with film posters, but her choice of films differs from mine. From Posterlounge, there were many of her favourites to choose from, but she settled on the iconic ink-blot image for Watchmen.

watchmen-ink-blot-poster-mollyandtheprincess

Technology has moved on since the days of my Pulp Fiction poster, so from Posterlounge you can choose to have your poster printed on a number of materials, not just paper. This Watchmen is printed on Alu-dibond, an aluminium compound with an extremely flat matte finish that makes it perfect for high-quality graphic printing – ideal for movie posters, and each print comes complete with hanging fittings. No more bulging blutack.

As well as posters that have been specifically commissioned to promote films, such as Saul Bass’s iconic poster for Hitchcock’s Vertigo (one of my favourites), Posterlounge also have a great range of independently-designed film posters, such as those by artist Chungkong:

“Chungkong is a Netherlands based designer. His fun work stands out for a simple and humorous language, demonstrating great ingenuity and imagination. Chungkong strips the subjects down to their bare bones and brings them to life in vibrant and playful designs, covering a variety of subjects.”

one-flew-over-the-cuckoos-nest-poster-chungkong-mollyandtheprincess

 
This post is written in collaboration with Posterlounge.

Chungkong’s film posters all follow a very simple but effective formula – a pared-back graphic that clearly signifies a key element or theme of the film, overlaid with text that gives the director, the title, and a quote from the film. They are very clever, as I think if they were on the picture round of University Challenge with the text removed, you would still instantly know which film each represents.

I particularly like this one showing Jack Nicholson’s beanie hat and a tablet from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, and if you didn’t think the original Jaws poster could be improved upon, think again, and check out Chungkong’s version …

Because film posters have be, by their very nature, visually striking and able to capture the imagination, their appeal has stood the test of time. So they make great presents for everyone – I can’t think of anyone I know who doesn’t watch and love films – but especially for those hard-to-buy-for young adults. (Though I secretly wish I’d chosen something for myself too, shhhh!)

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