Poster of the week...


Designer: Stenberg Brothers

Source: impawards.com

This poster is iconic of the Stenberg's style. The soviet poster moves away from using star power, and glorious painterly images, to use an more abstract poster design. The poster uses images to hint toward the narrative though lets us make our own perceptions through its constructivist style.

Genre comparisons...


It seems an obvious point to make, but the major recurring motifs in horror posters are unnatural creatures and murderous people. In older film posters in particular these are made very obvious and fit well with in your face text and exclamatory taglines, whereas in more recent posters they are suggested- hidden in the darkness, only partially present, or not depicted at all as the poster shows just what they are capable of, or a more abstract idea of them.

In terms of colour the horror genre tends to feature a large amount of red and black. These colours are appropriate to the genre with the connotations of death, fear, and blood. Often the posters feature some shade of green, this in itself can be seen as a spooky rather than murderous colour and hence approiate to the more supernatural films of the genre.

In older posters the typography is very over the top. Some kind of bold, rash type face is used to slam the title to your face, this is often highlighted in some bright green, yellow, or red, and more often than not features a exclamation. The genre has certainly developed to become more subtle andsuggestive with type now merging into darkness, or being very faintly playing on the fear of the unkown.


Genre comparisons...

Science Fiction:

The most common features of scifi through time are unnatural creatures and futuristic images. These are to be expected from the genre and reccur through many of the posters. Often futuristic, streamline images give an idea of the narrative, whilst if an unnatural creature is featured it is most commonly causing some threat or disruption to humans. These creatures can be anything from aliens, to prehistoric monsters as the genre has a wide scope.

The colour scheme- most prominent in pre 70’s posters- uses bright unnatural colours to express that they are something different, unusual, and not real. In some posters these colours are shown through typography, while in others they make up the whole background. Occasionally realist images are used which make the genre appear mre real, however these colours are used to contrast with this and hence convey the unatural. In later posters a darker colour scheme is used, and the genre appears to have become more gritty, and sinister. Space balck and blues often feature in the background, with the futuristic images in the fore.


Stenberg Brothers...

The Soviet Stenberg brothers designed many film posters during the 20's and 30's. The brothers had a knowledge of avant-garde and theater design, and through influences in Constructivism and Futurism, developed a new style to poster art. It is clear to see their unqiue style has influenced poster art today.

1920's post-revolutionary Soviets loved film. The government supported the film industry with large fuding, and this allowed film makers to produce patroiotic movies for the masses, whilst using the extra funding to creat cutting-edge, avant-garde cinema as well.

Constructivism involves taking images from other sources, and reconstructing them in a different manner. This can be seen in their poster for 'The Man With the Movie Camera,' which gives an abstract image of the films narrative.

Constructivist's also empolyed strong geometric shapes, and were often asscioated with diagonals in their poster work. This can be seen in the poster for 'A Commonplace Story' as well as 'The Man With the Movie Camera.'


Poster of the week...

This week: MEAN STREETS (1973)


Source: impawards.com

This poster for Scorseses’ Mean Streets conveys the crime genre well. The gun motif appears once again, and is some how subtly prominent. By merging it with the street, the gun becomes part of the neighbourhood and the home, and everyday thing. This could be symbolic of the gun being part of life, or even a place of safety, as your home should be. It is held up right and the barrel smokes as though it has just been fired, this conveying the violence of the film. The colour scheme follows that of generic convention, featuring blood reds and stark blacks. The block shapes have an art deco feel about them. I like the way the piece is built up of theses stencil like images and we instantly associate them with a gritty American street.


Genre comparisons...


Firstly colour scheme. There appears to be two colour schemes that run through the romance genre. In many of the older posters (pre1970) that I looked at, strong, passionate reds are used in combination with a substantial amount of white or black. However in modern posters, light-hearted, pastel colours have become popular, and are used along with black and white. Quite often through time the title of the film has been coloured red.

As the gun, or weapon is the reccuring motif in crime posters, a couple in some kind of embrace is in romance. Most of the posters I looked at featured the couple the story surrounds in a loving position, sometimes passionate, sometimes awkward- depending on the nature of the narrative. Often other smaller images are used around the main focus to develop our understanding, and create audience expectations. A few feature some sort of image with sexual connotations, be this through costume, props, or body position.

In most of the posters, star power is used as selling point. In most cases names are displayed at the top of the poster, however large images of the stars are also used. The majority of the posters feature a woman bigger than a man. What I mean by this is that composition is used to make the woman seem more dominant the man, this reflecting the target audience for the genre.


Poster of the week...

This week: Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Designer: Bill Gold

Source: impawards.com

This poster is interesting as it makes the murderous motif behind Bonnie and Clyde seem more shocking as it is presented as comical and light hearted- the way the characters see it. This is signified by the pastel purple colour, and the candy-cane, curling typeface, both of which feel family friendly and welcoming. This idea is further reinforced by the image, which depicts their laughing faces. The tagline sums up their feelings perfectly. Elements of crime are still present in the poster. The gun motif is replaced by bullet marks, and Warren Beatty is dressed in the classic attire. The white space in the picture conveys a sense of harsh environment, and the small image, an idea of being on the run. Black appears in the poster still despite he absence of the usual red, and it is interesting that most of the page is surrounded by white, apart from the characters who are surrounded by black, symbolic of evil, and darkness.


Genre through time...


I have looked at posters from each decade and through semiotic analysis, have picked out key features and motifs, that appear through time.

The most obvious similarity is colour scheme. Most, if not all, the posters I have analysed feature a red, black, and white colour scheme. It seems our associations with red and blood, and black and evil, are not going to change and hence have been popular over time, the white making contrast to the colours, and often representing a good, pure side of a narrative.

A second recurring design feature is bold, masculine typefaces, often using capital letters. I believe this to be as the crime genre is typically masculine oriented, and this style has military, or law enforcement connotations.

The posters a generally dominated by male characters. They are often dressed in typical costume: either dark coat and hat, or smart, gangster suit, and more often than not are sporting an intense look. Occasionally there is a female character in the posters, and when there is she is used to connote sex appeal, or vulnerability, and hence needing rescue from the male characters we see.

The gun motif reoccurs across most of the posters, this may seem obvious as symbol of the genre, however sometimes it is subtly placed and expresses the genre without being explicitly in your face. If the gun does not appear, another weapon, a body, or an offensive position replaces it.


Poster of the week...

This week... PULP FICTION (1994)
Possibly the most iconic film poster of all time? Quentin Tarintino's 'Pulp Fiction' is noted as one of the greatest films of all time, and I feel the poster does not dissapoint this title. It incorporates classic 40's pin-up in the image of Uma Thurman, and pop art in some ways, with the bright contrasting colours and font style. Elements of the narrative are displayed in the photo: a cigarette and gun. The stars are reeled off down the left hand side, and the crumpled scratched effect conveys the edgy stlye.