Online Indie Short Film Magazine

5 Film Poster Design Tips for Indie Short Filmmakers

Poster Designing is rocket science for some and for some simple as sending a picture on Snapchat. After my recent article How To Make A Simple Poster For Your Short Film in 5 Minutes (Without Photoshop), I received a couple of messages saying that the posters they designed were disliked by the audience and they received much negative feedback. I reverted back to all the messages and some of them responded back. Upon inspecting the posters, I concluded that just a designing tool cannot help you make a poster but you need the design sense to make a poster which pleases the audience.

Some may not have the necessary skill to make a good poster but if they focus on the right element, they might be able to create a good poster.

When I identified the issue behind bad poster designs, I decided to update my previous article but later decided to keep it like that and write an article with tips to keep in mind while designing a poster.

Here are 5 poster designing tips for filmmakers

1. Identify the main element

Most common mistake made by indie filmmakers when designing a poster is using the wrong elements. By elements I mean, images and text. Choose a couple of images which you think is the unique selling point of your film, try not to give away too much about the film. Out of these images, select one or two. Always try to use fewer images, we are not making a collage here, collages are confusing and your audience might not get what you are trying to say.

2. Every element must count

Sometimes you might want to add extra text or graphics but keep in mind that too many elements can be distracting and might take away the attention from the important element.

3. Size and resolution matter

It’s up to you to decide whether you want your poster vertical or horizontal. But I recommend making it vertical. Film festivals design their brochure keeping vertical posters in mind, your horizontal poster might not make into the brochure if your poster is the only one which is horizontal among all other vertical posters.

Different region has different poster sizes, but the most commonly used is A4 size.

3. Make the title large and clear

The title of your movie is the most important element in the poster as it is the identifying element, so it should be large and clear. The title should be readable from any size. When sending your poster to a festival, they might print it in their brochure by reducing the size to fit other posters. If your film name is not visible once it’s scaled down, the whole point of a poster fails.

4. Choose a color palate

One of the posters I received had ever possible color in it. Avoid this, professional designers if not required always sticks 2-3 color while designing anything. A quick search on Google will help you find many tools which will help you choose colors. My personal favorite is coolors.com.

5. Look for inspirations

There are millions of posters out there, go through some of them and you’ll get a fair idea what will work and what will not. I’m not saying to copy the exact poster, just see what kind of design will work for your film genre.

If you find any amazing posters share them using the comment box. Also, if you want to share some poster design tips let me know through the comment section.