Movie Posters and Typography

One of the visual design assignments I would give my students was to design a movie poster. It would be for a film of their own invention, so as not o be influenced by existing posters. The assignment required them to use a number of course topics (composition, color, line, etc.). Obviously, fonts were part of the design but I realized after I received my first semester submissions that students had not given enough consideration to fonts.

I would point them to the ScreenFonts series of reviews focusing on movie-poster typography. I especially like the examples that are really type-driven designs.

blow up
UK teaser poster in the U.K.

One poster that I had used as an example that appears in that series is Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up. The one above was a teaser poster used in the U.K. that used a very font-driven design. More traditional are the two posters below. You can analyze the use of typography (Futura Black, Surveyor Fine Bold) and discuss which of the two is more effective and why. And is one more American, one more Italian?

USA Blow Up
(left) U.S. poster and a painted variation used in Italy

Visual Designers

Image by Firmbee from Pixabay

Most times when I tell someone that I worked as a visual designer, they tell me that they don’t know what that means. “What do you do?” (I would get the same reaction when I said I was working as an instructional designer.)

Here is one way to approach answering about visual design.  I saw a posting on Google’s job site for a visual designer and it includes things like knowing user-centered design principles, producing high-quality visuals from concept to execution across many platforms. Google puts visual designers in with other UX jobs. They look for people who can collaborate with fellow designers.

Having worked on developing and designing “digital experiences” (e.g., websites), and graphic design (e.g., typography, layout, and art direction) and design tools like Figma, Sketch, Adobe Suite, etc.

I know a designer who originally was a motion designer specializing in Flash and working on commercials, animations, logos and branding packages. He still works on things like that sometimes (though no more Flash) but he works on much more.

Some jobs are quite specific. For example, a posting for a Senior Visual Designer on the Fitbit Device Software team will work on

Most times when I tell someone that I worked as a visual designer, they tell me that they don’t know what that means. “What do you do?” I would get the same reaction when I said I was working as an instructional designer.

Here is one way to approach answering about visual design.  I saw a posting on Google’s job site for a visual designer and it includes things like knowing user-centered design principles, producing high-quality visuals from concept to execution across many platforms. Google puts visual designers in with other UX jobs. They look for people who can collaborate with fellow designers.

Having worked on developing and designing “digital experiences” (e.g., websites), and graphic design (e.g., typography, layout, and art direction) and design tools like Figma, Sketch, Adobe Suite, etc. 

I know a designer who originally was a motion designer specializing in Flash and working on commercials, animations, logos and branding packages. He still works on things like that sometimes (though no more Flash) but he works on much more.

Some jobs are quite specific. For example, a posting for a Senior Visual Designer on the Fitbit Device Software team, you will work with a team of

Most times when I tell someone that I worked as a visual designer, they tell me that they don’t know what that means. “What do you do?” I would get the same reaction when I said I was working as an instructional designer.

Here is one way to approach answering about visual design.  I saw a posting on Google’s job site for a visual designer and it includes things like knowing user-centered design principles, producing high-quality visuals from concept to execution across many platforms. Google puts visual designers in with other UX jobs. They look for people who can collaborate with fellow designers.

Having worked on developing and designing “digital experiences” (e.g., websites), and graphic design (e.g., typography, layout, and art direction) and design tools like Figma, Sketch, Adobe Suite, etc. 

I know a designer who originally was a motion designer specializing in Flash and working on commercials, animations, logos and branding packages. He still works on things like that sometimes (though no more Flash) but he works on much more.

Some jobs are quite specific. For example, a posting for a Senior Visual Designer on the Fitbit Device Software team works with a visual, motion, and interaction designers on smartwatches, trackers, and a smart scale. That’s not typical web or graphic design experiences. They will need to “weave space, typography, color, iconography, and texture together to help people successfully navigate products.

Visual design is hard to define because it is many things. I also taught visual design and it was a very full syllabus.