Graphic Design- Practical Applications:
"The Movie Poster"

BACKGROUND: You have already demonstrated your design skills in creating a Book Cover Design, a Design for a Block of Stamps and small business website.

Now, you are going to demonstrate all of your design and Photoshop skills on yet another Practical Design Application Project: "The Movie Poster." 

INSPIRATION: I have put together a gallery of Movie Posters that you can use for inspiration.  This gallery includes both classic and modern posters.  All are "Teaser Posters" (see below).  Use any you wish to guide or inspire you:

Mr. B.'s Movie Poster Web Gallery

THE MOVIES:  You movies are listed below, you will be able to select the one that sounds interesting to you. Please select a film with which you are NOT familiar.

2001: A Space Odyssey- A Clockwork Orange- A Night at the Opera-
Annie Hall Before Sunset- Lae'Cee Being There-
Dr. Strangelove- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind- Fargo-
Anatomy of a Murder- It Happened One Night- The Brain Eaters-
L.A. Confidential- Lost in Translation- Modern Times-
Raging Bull- Requiem for a Dream- Reservoir Dogs:
Taxi Driver- The Apartment-

The Best Years of Our Lives-

The Deer Hunter- The Graduate- Attack of the Puppet People-
The Philadelphia Story- The Pianist- The Silence of The Lambs-
The Sixth Sense- The Third Man The Usual Suspects
Touch of Evil Unforgiven- Vertigo-
Cult of the Cobra- City of Fear: Curse of the Undead:

THE POSTER:  You will be creating what is known in the industry as a teaser poster or advance poster.  These types of posters are early promotional pieces, containing a basic image or design without revealing too much information about the plot, theme, or characters. The purpose is to incite awareness and generate hype for the film. A tagline is included to give the viewer a hint at the type of film being produced.  Sometimes, teaser posters are issued even before a film goes into production.

Because this is a "Teaser Poster", you will NOT be including any stills or images from the actual poster, as that is not available at the time Teaser posters are created.  Your design will need to include generic/general graphics and imagery that matches the theme and plot of the film.

RESEARCH:  Because you were supposed to accept the challenge and select a film with which you are NOT familiar, you will need to do some research as to the plot and storyline of your film.  I highly recommend that you look up your film in the world's largest online film database:

The Internet Movie Database (

At IMDB, you will need to research the following information for use in your poster (make sure you are researching the proper movie.  If there are any questions, ask Mr. B.!):

  • Film Director:  For use in the "Film Information" section at the bottom of your poster
  • Writer/Screenplay:  For use in the "Film Information" section at the bottom of your poster
  • Runtime:  How long is your film, for use in the "Film Information" section at the bottom of your poster
  • Production Company (Listed as "Company" in IMDB):  Film company that made your movie, for use in the "Film Information" section at the bottom of your poster
  • Main Actors:  For use in the "Film Information" section at the bottom of your poster and possible inclusion in the graphics of your poster design. In IMDB, actors are listed in billing order, most important at the top of the list.  You need 1-3 actors to list on your poster.
  • Tagline:  The "catch phrase" of the film, for use in the graphics of your poster. 
  • Plot Summary (brief) or Plot Synopsis (detailed):  To tell you about the themes and action of the movie, for inclusion in your graphics.  Watch for plot highlights and situations that would lend themselves to graphic representation

CREATING YOUR POSTER:  You will be creating your poster on a vertical (8.5 inches wide x 11 inches high) or a horizontal (11 inches wide x 8.5 inches high) canvas in Photoshop.

I am looking for your very best work of the year!  I want to be amazed by your work, so get crazy creative and make something extraordinary!

Using the information gathered above, you will create your poster.  Follow the specific instructions below:

  • Graphics:  You will be creating graphics that are appropriate to your film.  Gather images where ever you wish, but do NOT use any images from the actual film!  Use any techniques or skills in Photoshop that you wish to create the look that you want for your poster.  I expect to see polished graphics (well masked, well laid out, appropriate, with pleasing visual effects.)
  • Film Title:  Using your Typography skills and any fonts that you wish, create a FILM TITLE for use in your poster.  I highly recommend using strong colors and strokes that attract the eye of the viewer.  DO NOT copy the original movie title!
  • Tagline:  The tagline or "catchphrase" is meant to increase the interest in the mind of the viewer.  IMDB lists the taglines of most films.  You can use the official tagline of the movie or create your own. Place the tagline in a prominent, easy to view area of your poster.  If IMDB does not list a tagline for your film, you will need to create your own.
  • Actors:  If your film includes big name actors that might draw fans, consider listing them prominently on your graphics. If not, include the actors in the INFORMATION section, below.
  • Movie Information:  The Director, Writers, Production Company and Runtime should be included in small, but readable letters on the bottom of your poster. As best you can, try to copy the look of this section of a movie poster from the sample movie posters in the gallery.

FOR DESIGN REFERENCE, IN CASE YOU FORGOT SOMETHING:  Here is a link to all of the Graphic Design Video Tutorials and all of the Graphic Design Projects for this year. Use them if you need them! (Graphic Design Material is in the middle section of these pages.)

PLEASE NOTE:  I would like to see students using only "clean" photographs and graphics for their posters.  All graphics and special effects on your poster created by YOU!  I would even encourage students to use a camera to photograph their own graphics, whenever possible!


WRITTEN REQUIREMENTS:   Ordinarily, a Graphic Designer would be required to present their work to their client and explain their design decisions and how they enhance the message of their work.  You will do the same, but in writing.  Click over to the Graphic Design Movie Poster Presentation and fill out the form to explain your work when you are done creating your poster.

SAVING AND SUBMITTING: When your Poster is completely finished, JPEG your canvas and turn it in. Proper labelling for your JPEG will be:


Make sure you complete the Graphic Design Movie Poster Presentation.

If you do not complete this online form, you will receive a ZERO on this presentation.  (Yes, that means 0/300 points!  I really want you to complete the form!)

GRADING: This project will be graded in three parts:

  • Part One: Proper inclusion of all required elements. 100 points.
  • Part Two: Graphic Design appeal. This will be completely subjective grading on Mr. B.'s part. How GOOD DOES YOUR POSTER LOOK?  100 points.
  • Part Three: Written Presentation with the Graphic Design Movie Poster Presentation.  100 points.