When I started designing movie posters recently, it became obvious I was missing a few things to achieve the proper look . So as usual I turned to Google to find a few answers. After the initial “Aha” moments it would sink in that “Oh, that is basically common sense”. Of course it is actually decades of trial and error and experimentation by countless designers.
The first thing I was curious about is the font used at the bottom of the posters where the cast is listed. Turns out there are a few fonts out there that people have designed specifically for use in what is known as the credit block or billing block. “Steel Tongs” and “Movie poster” are a couple availiable for free. A few popular credit fonts you can purchase are Bee, Univers Thin Ultra Condensed, Tall Skinny Condensed and Triple Condensed Gothic. I may be wrong but I believe the truth is there is really no one official font . The reason these fonts mentioned work is because they are condensed and allow a good deal of information in a small amount of space. So basically any font will do that is condensed or ultra condensed. Usually Sans serif and helvetica seem to work the best. In my opinion this all depends on your design. If you are designing an actual modern poster Steel tongs will usually be most appropriate. If you are going retro, seems anything goes .The billing also contains film related logos, including the MPAA rating , studio logos, and sometimes the dolby sound logo. These logos are known as bugs. You will usually find a web address for newer films. Another font that seems to be present elsewhere in most posters (So much it seems to be criticized) is trajan. This font does seem to work in most cases. Especially for the taglines.
The poster we most commonly associate with the movies is the One Sheet. It is a 27″x41″ poster, usually printed on paper stock. Modern posters are rolled, while older film posters were folded. So when going for a retro design, a grunge folded texture may help to capture the feel of an old poster. The one-sheet is the “standard” in film advertising for the U.S. They usually have full credits unless they are an Advance or Teaser poster. Teasers will most likely include only a title and a “coming soon” info and a slogan or tagline.
Below are some examples of credit block styles and the Trajan font.First example is when there is plenty of room. You can usually use whatever legible font you choose. Second example is when the space is tight and third example is for when there is a lot of info and space is very tight. Notice directed by is stacked in last example saving some space.
here is a photoshop template guideline for a printable poster. If you are just designing for fun or practise anything goes.CMYK is for printing. RGB would be more useful for web viewing.
There is much more to designing a poster, but the basics mentioned here can help to get started and concentrate on the main design without wondering about the bits at the bottom.