Film titles on a movie poster often act as a logo: they set the tone at the beginning of a film, or get people excited as they walk into a screening.
Unlike trailers, they’re meant to capture the essence of a film in one shot, not a short video. That’s a lot of pressure!
With the iconic Toronto International Film Festival in full swing, we’ve taken note of 8 of this year’s featured films with beautifully crafted movie poster designs. (And being a Toronto startup, we’re proud to call TIFF one of the best film festivals in the world).
1. Beautiful Boy
The film’s title and credits are in a thin, sans-serif typeface— it’s delicate and fragile like the main character of the film, a young man addicted to illegal substances.
Accompanied by a worn black-and-white photo, the poster has a vintage, nostalgic feel (and really makes Steve Carrell and Timothee Chalamet look like father and son!).
2. Boy Erased
This movie poster features a traditional serif typeface, reflecting the serious and religious tone of the film and resembling the look of text in the Bible.
The imagery communicates the premise of the film; a soft glow of light shines on the gay son of a Baptist pastor. The light represents hope in times of darkness, as the young man is forced to (plot alert) enter gay-conversion therapy.
3. First Man
What typeface can stand out against Ryan Gosling’s face? In this case, a custom one with a crescent moon as the shoulder of the “R”. The typeface is thin and narrow and glows like the stars, representing the galactic nature of the film.
The moon shape (also reflected in the helmet shape) ties into the film’s storyline, starring Gosling as a young Neil Armstrong and his journey to the moon in 1961.
4. The Hate U Give
As a recreation of the book cover this film is based on, this poster features a bold, slightly distressed all-caps typeface. Stacked text sits on a sign that would be held at a protest, putting a focus on the power of those four simple words.
The Hate U Give tells the story of a young black girl’s political awakening after her childhood friend is shot by the police.
The film’s title appears in a distinctive typeface in the top-left corner, with emphasis on the “R” (we love that “R”!).
The gold color stands out on the black-and-white image and represents the importance and core role mothers play within a middle-class family in Mexico City during the early 1970s.
6. A Star is Born
The film’s title appears in a textured gold, all-caps typeface, its words stacked on top of one another in a stair-like arrangement. This subtly communicates the steps the main characters have to take in hopes of becoming a star in the music industry.
Of course, the gold is also evocative of the yearning to become a star––to shine like gold.
The strong, sans-serif typeface, with very tight kerning, draws your eye to the film’s title and pops against the black background. The bold lettering emphasizes the strength of the widowers, and the tight kerning reflects the relationship between.
There’s also a hint of secrecy and allure, creating a sense of wonder about how the characters are connected.
How pretty are the colors on this poster? We also love the clean, serif typeface with wider kerning. The seemingly perfect lettering alludes to the image of a happy and wholesome family; however, the distant space between letters says otherwise.
The explosion in the background of the poster also hints at chaos within this family unit.
From tear-jerking dramas to out-of-this-world sci-fi, movie poster design plays an essential role in promoting a film. It acts as a key marketing asset, giving people an idea of the tone and mood of a movie.
As you can see, typography and titles play a huge role in the messaging behind movie posters. It’s more than just the name of the film; it’s the story, the plot, the tension. So much can be told with the font style, much like in traditional logo design!
Want to learn more about design in the film industry? Check out these film logo designs.