BLOG

Category Archives: Wheelhouse Blog

My Favorite Movie Poster Designs

My Favorite Movie Poster Designs

Screen capture of my son Cory (age 11) and myself from a short film we made about our video store Cinema Works in 1995.

 

Before my time as a graphic designer, I owned and operated a video rental store in my hometown. For nearly a decade throughout the 1990s, I was surrounded by thousands of movie posters and video box covers.

A few weeks ago, my son who spent much of his young life in the store, sent me a text message and attached the poster art for the upcoming movie The Pale Door. We were both mesmerized by the design, and it reminded us of all the amazing artwork we experienced in that ten-year period.

So, in honor of my nostalgic trip back to the 1990s, I’ve chosen just a few of my (many) favorite movie poster designs and discuss why I love their layouts.

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Pale Door (2020)

There is nothing I don’t like about this poster. The combination of a balanced layout, color choice, photography, and overall plot message are both eerie and visually stunning. The plot revolves around two old-west criminals hiding out in a ghost town occupied by some sinister characters and creatures. The bold center silhouette holds the entire premise of the movie within and the use of white space around the main image enhances the visual impact.

 

 

Jaws (1975)

This simple, powerful design is instantly recognizable, and the poster art tells the story immediately. Tony Seiniger, the man behind the iconic poster, attempted to create something no one had seen before. “No matter what we did, it didn’t look scary enough,” he said in 2003. It wasn’t until Seiniger realized that to assure the shark didn’t look like a friendly dolphin, he had to go “underneath” the shark to show the true terror, its razor-sharp teeth.

 

 

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

This vintage style poster designed by Richard Amsel is one of my very favorites. With retro illustrations and sepia tone, it’s a throwback to the cliffhanger serials and movie posters of the 1940s. It screams foreign intrigue and swashbuckling adventure.

 

 

Pulp Fiction (1994)

The poster art for Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 masterpiece is another throwback design. Although the designers pay homage to the gritty dime store novels of the 1930s-1950s, the artwork still manages to feel contemporary.

 

 

 

American Beauty (1999)

Sometimes less is more. The use of white space (the space on a page not covered by print or graphics) is done well in this design. The simple but provocative cover photo is a nod to one of the movie’s more memorable scenes.

 

 

 

The Exorcist (1973)

What I love most about the poster design for The Exorcist is that it didn’t take the obvious route, showing the frightening image of the film’s demon-possessed star we’ve all grown to know. Instead, it shows the moment before we meet her. Bill Gold, the design team leader remarked, “You knew somehow that whatever is about to happen inside that house is not going to be good.”

 

 

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

This early poster design (later replaced by Elliot’s flying bike image) is a hat-tip to Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam. This simple, yet effective design foretells the spiritual connection between the story’s human characters and the beloved outsider they meet. The contrast of the lighted foreground image against the dark outer space background really pops and brings the film’s message to life.

 

 

Star Wars (1977)

This is the ultimate good vs. evil story and the poster design conveys it. The brightly lit image of the heroes standing in stark contrast against the iconic villain towering in the darkness behind them depicts the immense power of the enemy they’re up against.

 

 

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

This colorful, distorted, and dizzying poster design not only mimics artist Ralph Steadman’s unique style, but visually conveys the protagonist’s wild, drug-fueled trip to Las Vegas in the 1970s.

 

 

 

Escape to Witch Mountain (1975)

After seeing this movie as a 10-year-old kid, I was convinced that I would someday marry the movie’s co-star Kim Richards, so I’ll admit this somewhat a nostalgic choice. That being said, after all these years I still love this poster and actually own an original print. I love the overall balance of this design. The color and title font here are great too, and the illustrator’s use of shape and negative space is superbly done. Like many other great movie posters, it tells the movie’s plot in its design; three escaping heroes, eluding the evil clutches of the menacing villain.

 

Before We Can Build Your Website

Before We Can Build Your Website

In today’s digital world, your online presence is more important than ever. Having a fully-functional, professional website can make a huge difference between an average business and a highly successful one. We know creating a website can be daunting, but here at Wheelhouse Creative we take the guesswork out for you. Let us handle all… Continue Reading

Movie Making is in My Blood

Movie Making is in My Blood

As far back as I can remember, my brother and I have loved going to the movies. There’s something about the big screen that makes life seem so much bigger, brighter and better. Some people get chills from reading a thriller. For me, it’s all about seeing it on the screen. I love a great… Continue Reading

The Creative Difference

The Creative Difference

People often say to creative people they wish they were more creative themselves. They tell designers they used to draw but gave it up because they didn’t have enough time. They tell writers they’ve always wanted to write a novel — the idea is already in their head! — but they lack the talent to… Continue Reading

The Care and Feeding of your Designer

The Care and Feeding of your Designer

What does a designer need to survive in an agency? We really don’t need much, really — maybe some snacks, a non-regimented workspace. But we do need direction. No, not the north-south type of direction, although, OK, at times we need that as well. But I’ve been asked many times to create billboards. Industry code… Continue Reading

He Who Plants Oaks

He Who Plants Oaks

They say he who plants an oak tree does so knowing the shade provided will be for a future generation. Though this may be true, the growing oak provides plenty of benefits for the here and now. Watching something so frail and tender as a young oak grow, knowing that one day it will be… Continue Reading

How Well Do You Know Your Friends? Facebook Knows Them Better

How Well Do You Know Your Friends? Facebook Knows Them Better

Have you ever been out at a restaurant and seen someone from across the room for the first time in your life, and the next day the same person is suggested as “People You May Know” on Facebook? This isn’t by some coincidence or divine intervention. Facebook has a very in-depth (and somewhat creepy) algorithm… Continue Reading

Branding You

Branding You

After many months, weeks and days of planning, I finally tied the knot! One thing that I had been looking forward to was my new last name. While I have received the compliment (from more than one person) that the name Olivia Morgan sounds like a movie star name, I can’t even begin count the… Continue Reading

You Get What You Pay For

You Get What You Pay For

You get what you pay for. We all know that, but sometimes the deal seems too good to be true. So, you take a chance. This goes for just about everything in life. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is. The advertising world isn’t immune to these fly by nights and… Continue Reading

Wheelhouse Creative Adds Veteran Reporter to Talented Team

Wheelhouse Creative Adds Veteran Reporter to Talented Team

Wheeling, W. Va. – Wheelhouse Creative announces the addition of award-winning journalist Mitch Vingle to its talented team of creative professionals. Vingle brings over 38 years of writing experience to the team. Whether as a beat writer for WVU sports, a sports editor of the Morgantown Dominion Post and Charleston Gazette or award-winning columnist, his… Continue Reading

Flying in Small Planes

Flying in Small Planes

The joy of being strapped into a tin can thousands of feet above the ground. I was having lunch the other day with Jamie Bordas and Joe Monahan from Wheelhouse. Jamie was telling us of a pleasant experience he had recently had on his first privately chartered airplane trip. He mentioned that it was out… Continue Reading

The Life Lessons I Learned from World of Warcraft

The Life Lessons I Learned from World of Warcraft

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs, mercifully) get a bad rap for being life-sucking parallel universes. However, games like World of Warcraft are a microcosm of many real-life experiences. No, really. For those who are unaware of how World of Warcraft works, here’s the gist: you start out mostly broke, you have no skills, very… Continue Reading

16 Cypress Avenue, Wheeling, WV 26003
304.905.6005


One Gateway Center, 420 Fort Duquesne Blvd., Suite 1875, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
412.291.8971

© 2019, Wheelhouse Creative, LLC. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.