Design

Actors Slam Movie Poster Printing

We're living in the age of the armchair designer. Adapt or die.

When there's a failure of communication between the creators of a product and the folks in charge of promoting it, look out! These days, it's not good enough to just sell the product, you also have to appeal to the design sensibilities of your client who, lucky you, happens to know a thing or two about good design.

Take, for example, the movie industry, wherein there's a long-standing tradition of punching up ad campaigns to make a movie appeal to the largest possible audience.

That means doing stuff like making a trailer for a courtroom drama that features the movie's one and only blammo explosion, and a sex scene that didn't even make it into the final cut.

It also means creating poster print designs that make a romance look like a sex flick, a drama look like a thriller, and a political thinker look like pure action-adventure.

Why does this process so often involve pretending that a movie is something it's not? Advertisers might say they're just doing they're jobs, but lately, actors have started to fight back at bad movie poster design.

It started with Keira Knightley, who refused to go ahead with a poster for her upcoming film, The Dutchess, because it was 'digitally enhanced' to make her breasts look larger than they are.

The same thing happened to Knightley on the King Arthur movie poster design, but this time, she put her foot down. And really, what's the point of filling a theatre with guys hoping to ogle something that doesn't even exist? It's advertising that misses the point of the product it's promoting.

Now, actor Dane Cook has made a major statement by posting a rant on his MySpace blog about the poster design for his upcoming movie, My Best Friend's Girl. The poster, complete with terrible tagline, “It's funny what love can make you do,” looks like an absolutely typical cheesy rom-com. According to Cook, however, that couldn't be further from the truth.

Read Cook's rant. It's hilarious and perceptive in terms of lambasting some of the truly awful things that we tend to do late at night in Photoshop.

And Cook is dead on point when he concludes by saying that the poster print design is going to fill the theatre with people that the movie wasn't made for, while driving away the people that would actually enjoy it.

It's annoying as heck for designers, but the fact is that we're all working in a design-conscious nation nowadays. People don't look at movie posters as if they were produced by some all-knowing force of film knowledge anymore. Nowadays, people do look at poster printing and say, “man, that guy's forehead is WAY too shiny, and were those two characters cut and pasted together? Geez, they're not even to scale!”

Annoying as heck, yes, but it's the way of the new world. And beware! sometimes, unfortunately, as in the cases of Knightley and Cook, the armchair designer is…ech…right.


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