Project 2 – Exercise 3: Film Posters

Choose a film and its corresponding poster and reflect on how the typography, image, colour and composition are used to reflect the nature of the film. You may want to choose a film you’ve seen or can view some clips from; alternatively, you could start from the poster and then research around the film. How has the aesthetic of the moving image influenced the design of the poster?

I thought this poster for the documentary film ‘Terms and Conditions May Apply’ really stood out.

Without knowing a thing about this film, I recognised the typography as being the typefaces and styles of some of the biggest websites in the world, namely Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon. As well as this, the ‘I Agree’ button, is also a familiar sight to probably anyone who regularly uses the internet.

The summary from Wikipedia states:

Terms and Conditions May Apply is a documentary that addresses how corporations and the government utilize the information that users provide when agreeing to browse a website, install an application, or purchase goods online.

The literal meaning of the words in the title will also be well recognized. Anyone who’s ever signed up for pretty much anything nowadays will have seen this phrase, or something similar. It will also be a fairly common occurrence that we often click that ‘I agree’ button without actually reading the T&Cs properly. This is the whole premise of the film, and how we’re agreeing to let these huge corporations, as well as the government access our personal data without even really thinking about it.

You may want to extend this exercise to compare a film or TV programme’s trailer or opening credits in relation to the programme itself. What choices have the designers made to try and capture a sense of the whole?

When I went looking for an example of trailers or opening credits to look at for this part of the exercise, the first thign that sprung to mind were the credits for the recent series of American Horror Story: 1984.

The series is set, as the title implies, in 1984. The 80s had a very distinct style with bright colours, neon, and general extravagance being commonplace. The brush stroke style of typeface used in these credits was very popular at the time, but even though it’s not as harsh as some of the other popular fonts, it is still bold, with defined edges and drop shadows. This allows it to stand out from some of the gaudy backgrounds used behind it. The designers have made sure that the font is not as crisp as it would be today, and has that slightly blurry edge that you see if you ever re-watch old 80s tv shows.

The font colour choice of white may just be to make it stand out, but it could also be a meaningful choice. To me, the drop shadow looks red, and they have certainly added a lot of red blood to these credits. White can be a sign of purity and innocence, and is in stark contrast to the danger that the red represents. Interestingly, all the actors names are white, but the show title itself is in a blood red, further highlighting the nature of the series (if you’ve never seen it, it’s generally filled with all kinds of blood and gore, with some often rather scary imagery).

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