Poster art is one of the most important elements in marketing a movie, as it is often the first thing an audience will ever see about the film. It needs to be eye-catching, attractive, stimulating, and most importantly it must reflect the tone and genre of the film being advertised. I have always been fascinated by film poster art and design. Here are 10 great designs for 2020 films, and why I think they work. Their success here is unrelated to the quality of the films themselves.
The colours in this Babyteeth poster immediately catch the eye, with the blue of the pool and wig contrasting the orange of the dress. The pink title jumps hard at the viewer, creating a stimulating and vivid appearance. It is often hard to promote small domestic dramas, but this poster absolutely excels.
I think one of the biggest challenges for Birds of Prey was to telegraph to a potential audience that this film (a) featured Margot Robbie’s popular Harley Quinn character but (b) was not going to share a tone with earlier film Suicide Squad and (c) was dominated by female characters. I think it succeeds on all counts – as well as sells the film’s whimsical sensibilities.
Walt Disney released a mind-boggling number of posters for their live-action Mulan, most of which were very ordinary Photoshop jobs. This one I adored, partly because of its hand-drawn nature but also because of the way it pays tribute to the original Mulan‘s iconic teaser poster.
There is a striking sense of layout to this main Residue poster, swapping the text up to the top, and featuring a boldly coloured but deeply grainy image below. It gives the poster a weirdly literary quality, as well as a vintage sense of style – it feels more like something from the 1970s than the 2020s. Given the film’s focus on memory and the past, that works very well.
One of the best ways to stand out among the sea of photographic and Photoshopped film posters is to rely entirely on drawn artwork instead. This one for Woody Allen’s latest is pitch-perfect: colourful, bright, just caricatured enough to seem comedic without seeming grotesque, and with a New Yorker quality that emphasises Allen’s target market and tone.
While I have yet to see Soul, this Japanese poster for the film is an absolute knock-out, and looks better than the ones used in the rest of the world. The text style suits Japanese text particularly well, and the split of colours above and below the piano keys keep the imagery crisp and simple.
The sense of motion in this Wendy poster is superb, as the horizontal use of colour. It uses a fairly narrow colour pallete, but one that’s rather rich and easy on the eye. The hand-drawn title adds to the scratchy, simple quality. Giving over so much of the page to the sky is a bold, eye-catching move.
After a solid decade of superhero movies featuring Photoshopped floating heads, it was nice to see the art on Wonder Woman 1984 rely so much on single characters and vivid psychadelic colours. The “W” design and Gal Gadot in armour both sell the iconic character without having to even include the title. Warner Bros produced a lot of different posters for this along the same theme; I think this one is best.
Selling a documentary can be even harder than selling a small drama. This COVID-19 documentary absolute nails its subject matter with the claustrophobic photo, the masked face, and the single tear. The text and title on the right are well balanced, with the top cluster of festival logos selling the film’s perceived quality.