How To Design Your Movie Poster (For The VOD Age)

How To Design Your Movie Poster is a guest post by film graphic designer, Ela Gancarz

Having a good movie art is very important if you want to sell your film.

And although the need to design your movie poster may seem secondary in digital distribution era, you should always consider that most video on demand marketplaces will require your art in a relatively large format.

Anything you design to market your movie should be created using a high resolution!

Taking time to design your movie poster is a good first step in your overall branding strategy. Visual design which represents your product should compel and excite the potential viewers to influence their buying decisions and to create a good perception of the film.

To improve your results, your movie art must create an immediate impact and touch the audience on the right emotional level. The starting point of your overall brand strategy is your movie poster design.

Before designing any graphic elements you should decide on the message you want to communicate.

Design Your Movie PosterHow To Design Your Movie Poster

Part 1 – STYLE

When you set out to design your movie poster, you need to first decide what kind of movie your poster is going to represent. You should try to convey the general mood of your film to its graphic design.

For example, if you work on an action or horror movie poster, you should create an intense or dark atmosphere – if it’s a comedy, it would be better to choose a funny and light style.

Your poster should be striking, memorable and focused on a single, clear message. When you are working on your graphic design, always make sure you think about your target audience!

Part 2 – TEXT

The next thing to focus on is the text. Apart from the movie title, your film poster must also contain a tag line (a striking sentence or branding slogan the conveys the movie’s message), the name of the director, names of main actors or characters, the release date and a billing block (credits at the bottom).

If you need to emphasize a presence of someone famous in your movie, or highlight some other particular aspect of the film, you may write it on your poster, along with making sure this information is really indispensable.

Your movie poster must say just enough to make the sale and not a word more!

Part 3 – IMAGES

The most difficult step when you design your movie poster is choosing images. You should hire a great graphic designer. And your designer should help you with this.

But even with the professional assistance, choosing the correct graphics can be difficult. So the best way to find out what to put on your poster is to look at other similar works or to watch some films in the same genre for inspiration.

If you don’t have any good pictures of your actors or movie scenes, you can try to substitute them for some more symbolic images. On the Internet you may find many interesting photographs that would express the mood of your film.

Otherwise, you may have to forgo photos for representative drawings, which would make your poster illustrated rather than photographic.

Lastly, you should use a consistent graphic design in all areas of your marketing, including website, DVD cover and all other visual collateral associated with your film.

Designing your movie poster may at times seem less exciting than actually making your movie, it is essential. And taking time to design your movie poster the right way can be rewarding when you see your movie sales increase!

If you’d like more information on how to design your movie poster, reach out. . .


  1. ORHAN says

    Greetings from Turkey. I want to know what are the basic steps / effects in Photoshop to convert a normal photo of the actor /actress into the image in the movie poster. They seem like cartoonish. I couldn’t find any good tutorial on the web. Can you enlighten us on the basic effects? Thank you very much. And best Regards!

  2. says

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve wondered about the process of making posters. I think about it when I design covers for my books, etc.–wonder how different or difficult it is.

  3. says

    Although copyright law does not cover movie titles, this does not necessarily mean that we are free to make a poster using a famous movie title. As far as I know, some movies can be protected by trademark law. In my opinion, if you want to use a famous movie title in your works, you should consult with experienced IP counsel.

  4. Mario says

    Hi, I need and info. Am I allowed to create and sell a poster of a movie that is not mine? For example, can I realize a poster of “Fight Club” or do I need a license to do that? I wuold like to create some movie posters but of course I won’t use images copyrighted!

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