We’ve all said those three powerful words when deciding which film to watch: “This looks (insert negative or positive adjective here).” Whatever adjective finishes that short sentence decides the fate of that film for you. In my most presumptuous of moods I will judge a film based on what typeface they used in the movie poster. As a cinephille, I can be condemned for such triviality, but I believe the rule of first impressions always apply.
Production companies that design the brand identity for a film have the responsibility of maintaining that first good impression. The movie poster, the driver of that identity, can also be an indication of failure if it subscribes to the common and conventional denominator of ‘thoughtless design’. Successful poster design moves beyond symbolism to choose an interpretive vision. When interpretation pushes curiosity to it’s limits, a simple promotional movie poster can be elevated to into the caliber of art.
A great example of contemporary film poster design is Los Angeles based Neil Kellerhouse. Known for the conceptualization behind the branding of The Social Network, I’m Still Here, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Kellerhouse’s success can be attributed to his ability to find the core idea of a film and bring it to life in a two-dimensional medium. Kellerhouse’s courageous reappropriation of story into image makes him a visionary behind the most intriguing film posters in contemporary media.