How to Make a Movie Poster: The Ultimate Guide

Creating a movie poster is an excellent opportunity to stir up interest in your personal films. Many graphic design teachers also assign this type of project to their students, as it's a useful skill to have. How can you replicate the feeling of a blockbuster movie poster?

What makes for a good movie poster?

If you haven't already, watch the film that the movie poster will be based on. Many professional movie posters draw direct inspiration from scenes in the movie to create an interesting image. Some posters even edit direct screenshots from the movie to use on the poster. Watching the film beforehand will also give you a better idea of the movie's tone.

You should also consider the genre of the movie before you start making your poster. For example, horror movie posters usually showcase dark lighting with gritty textures and fonts. You wouldn't use the same design techniques for a comedy film poster.

Moving onto the image itself, it's important to remember that a movie poster isn't like a regular art piece. Too much going on in the picture might take away from its overall message or overwhelm the observers' senses. Your movie poster should have a single focal point that catches the observer's attention. The title of the film should be easily visible, preferably with a big font and contrasting color from the poster's background.

Last but not least, come up with an interesting tagline. This is another reason why watching the movie beforehand should be prioritized. It will allow you to convey the main message of the movie or the protagonist's overall goal. Make it short and sweet, just enough to pique the passing observer's interest.

How to create a movie poster

Once you've selected your photo or created a graphic yourself, you can begin perfecting it in photo editing software. CorelDRAW is one of the most common tools, though you can use some free image editors in a pinch. With these programs, you can experiment with textures and lighting to really make your poster pop.

However, be wary of adding too many effects to the image for no reason. Ask yourself: do these effects contribute to the overall tone and essence of the film? You should also use effects to highlight the focal point of your poster. Avoid using effects on the title text, unless it's a drop shadow.

Next, it's time to add your supporting text to the poster. That includes the names of the cast, crew, the film's title, and the tagline. There's no concrete rule on where you have place all this text, but it should be adequately spaced out.

The typical format is placing the leading actors' names near the very top of the poster in smaller text. The title should have the biggest font size and ideally be placed slightly above the middle of the poster. The middle of the poster should obviously be the focal point of your image, so don't crowd it with too much text.

You can place the movie's tagline or relevant quote off to the side of the main image or below it. Under that, you'll supply the names of the supporting cast, crew, and other relevant credits in a big block format.

A standard movie poster size is usually in a portrait format measuring 27 by 40 inches. Alternatively, the canvas-style portraits that you might see in subways or movie theater hallways measure 40 by 60 inches.

Make your own movie poster with confidence

As you can see, a movie poster doesn't just rely on a great photo. The picture has to have an emotional impact on the observer, combined with professional and stylish graphic design. Now that you know what tools you need, you can create your own movie poster for any occasion.

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