20 Eye-catching Examples of Typography in Movie Posterswritten by Tom Walker
If you’re looking for typographic inspiration, look no further than the posters hanging in your local movie theatre. Such posters can make or break movies. So central are they to promotion in the run up to major releases that everything about them has to be eye-catching, original and engaging. Other promotional products are generally useful, but hardly have the impact that the poster can.
Rather then rely solely on images, many designers bring typography centre stage when creating such posters. It is, after all, the movie name and release date which are the most important messages to convey. You’ll find typography at its most cutting-edge and stimulating in the 20 examples below. The movies themselves weren’t necessarily critical successes, but each poster is a classic.
1. Ex-Lady (1933)
Image: Designer Daily
The strong, glamorous Helen Bauer, played in the movie by Bette Davis, rests against a set of wonderfully stylized art deco fonts, typical of the era.
2. Bunny Lake is Missing (1965)
Simple, but striking, the thick brush-stroke-like font employed in this poster, reminiscent of a homemade sign, matches the movie’s missing child storyline.
3. El Condor (1970)
Image: Designer Daily
A stone fortress sits atop the words “El Condor”, which taper towards the top to underline the building’s impenetrability- a theme central to the plot.
4. As Good as it Gets (1997)
Image: I Am Gabz
Those who have seen this terrific movie might not feel that this poster represents its story and mood that well. Nevertheless, the ribbon-like font, which dances across, is truly stunning.
5. Dancer in the Dark (2000)
A Snellen chart has been chosen as the subject matter for this poster for a movie about gradual loss of sight. While somewhat unimaginative, the way in which the letters darken, as they approach the key information at the bottom, is very effective.
6. Gangs of New York (2002)
Image: Jason Cypret
Bill “The Butcher” Cutting’s top hat is ever-present in Scorsese’s 2002 epic. It’s only right, therefore, that it should feature in the movie’s poster. The letters are shaped to recreate the hat’s tall, concave form.
7. Big Fish (2003)
What Big Fish lacks in script and acting prowess, it makes up for in creativity. Its poster is every bit as inventive. The film’s title sprouts tall, wiry branches.
8. Walk the Line (2005)
Image: Steve Jencks
The vector graphics method has been used here to make a poster that’s bold, slick and striking.
9. Vacancy (2007)
Dark, moody and textured, this poster sets the bar very high for Nimrod Antal’s horror/thriller, which doesn’t even come close to matching the success of this design.
10. The Invisible (2007)
Image: Al Finite
If you want to remain invisible, you need to stay away from two things: flour and water! Going out in the rain is never advised as your form will instantly be revealed. The letters which make up the title here are white and wispy- the next best thing to being invisible in cinematic terms.
11. Charlie Bartlett (2007)
Image: Owl Pellets
The words “Charlie Bartlett” make up the sunglasses in this Warhol-esque arrangement.
12. The Spirit (2008)
Lit perfectly, this is a poster every bit as cinematic as the movie itself. The words “My City Screams” are “built” from weathered bricks.
13. Taken (2008)
The typography in this poster perfectly reflects the film’s dark atmosphere with words lurking in the shadows. The film’s title, printed in bright orange to stand out against a gloomy backdrop, is upstaged by a gleaming gun.
14. Burn After Reading (2008)
Image: Fata Culture
The somewhat misshapen, irregular font used here harks back to movie posters of old, such as the classic example for Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece, Vertigo.
15. Blindness (2008)
Image: Scrape TV
This, the second film about blindness here, also features a Snellen chart-type layout with one large letter at the top and smaller letters below. Everything’s a blur except for the key info.
16. Flow (2008)
Image: Princeton Water Watch
Negative space typography has been used to great effect in this poster for a 2008 documentary about the privatization of water infrastructure.
17. 2012 (2009)
Image: Diet Rich Thrall
Less is more in this terrific poster. A chink of light in the “1” of 2012 symbolizes the light at the end of the tunnel and hope for the human race as we know it.
18. The Limits of Control (2009)
Image: Trailer Tracker
Thanks to the superb typography and other imagery in this poster, you can be forgiven for thinking that this film dates back to the 60s. In fact, it’s a new film, albeit a flop that you probably missed at the cinema.
19. Watchmen (2009)
Image: Forbidden Planet
Forget about the main image in this poster, which is absolutely dazzling in itself, the font and color used in the film’s title is perfect. So clean, so clear and so instantly reminiscent of the comic book on which this movie’s based.
20. Zombieland (2009)
Image: Horror Challenge
Zombieland is clearly a place you don’t want to visit. The orange, glowing typography, set against a spherical world, is reminiscent of the Planet Hollywood sign.