ds106 - Saying Things

Things To Watch and Read – Talking About Poster and Book Design

This week I learned about book jacket and movie poster design. Some of the videos and articles I read are below so you can enjoy them as well. (Not all of them could be linked)

Going in, I was interested to hear what professionals had to say about their work. Visual art is something that feels so abstract and illusive, but there are formulas that only the artists know. In Chip Kidd’s TED Talk and Between the Lines interview he briefly discussed how to approach a story from a design standpoint. He explained that the designer’s job is to distill a story to it’s fundamental pieces and then try to relate those to an audience. Movie poster and TV title designers seemed to agree: a designer’s job is to attract readers or viewers.

There are many ways to convey an idea or emotion through book jackets and movie posters. James Verdesoto explained how different colors are tied to genres and the purposes they serve. For example, red text and a white background are often used for comedies, especially in the early 2000s. These colors help to focus the viewer on one element of the poster, which is usually a staged photograph featuring key characters. Posters with yellow backgrounds signal that the movie is indie or otherwise has a small production budget, as yellow quickly catches people’s eyes. He explained how many indie posters get inspiration from vintage posters and punk rock graphics.

Graphic design has many tactics to gain attention, but ultimately a design is personal to the story, time, and artist creating it. I think it’s important not to forget the care put into posters and book jackets. While there are trends and methods to catch eyes, this work is first and foremost about the stories and the people behind those stories.

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