Movie poster compositional shapes (Part 2)

In the previous post I’d quickly grabbed a handful of movie poster examples using the ‘X’ shaped compositional structure. I’d said that the ‘X’ shaped structure is simply one of many that ‘Hollywood’ poster designers appear to favour. Not for any massive lack of creativity I hasten to add. Rather, when trying to grab our attention, suggest the tone of the movie, show us who’s in it (usually) AND infer some of the story – using some simple compositional shapes really help. Make a poster too busy and too complicated and it’s much harder to visually digest quickly. Bold and simple compositional shapes grab attention and provide a good framework for faces, figures and environments.

To be fair, this attitude towards composition is pretty good for most artwork, but of course the compositional structures can and do change according to media and audience (now there’s another post).

So, this time I’ve grabbed four other compositional shapes (as well as finding some more ‘X’ ones). These are – the ‘Z’, circle, triangle and the ‘V’ shape structure. These are all bold, simple, dynamic, stable frameworks and work very well. ¬†For example, the circle, a shape which lends itself brilliantly to some of the most iconic posters ever…is bold, visually direct, frames ideas and characters, is stable and graphically pleasing. The ‘Z’ creates a striking diagonal line, the triangle is well balanced (but often pretty dull) while the ‘V’ shape structure, despite easily becoming top heavy, is particularly good at directing attention to the movie title.

Remember, these are just for underlying compositional shape – thinking about other things like colour palettes, tonal balance, proportion, texture or contrast is definitely for another time….hope you like ’em!




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About the author

Bob: Bob is a concept artist for the film, tv and game industries


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