Movie Posters Codes and
Éimear Hart-Clenaghan
What is a Movie Poster?
• A movie poster can be seen in a number of lights: some
see them as a work of art but their primary purpose is as
an advertisement
• The challenge for the creators of these posters is to
maintain the artistic values of these pieces while
ensuring they are successful persuasive texts.
• We the consumers of these texts can often tell the genre
or have a good guess at what the movie is about at just a
glance depending on the colour scheme and pose used
for the main image but there are some conventions which
are common to all genres:
-Masthead –Credit Block –Main Image –Actors names
-Directors names –Reviews –Taglines….
• There are a number of different types of movie posters:
Teaser Posters, Official Cinema Release Posters and
DVD Release posters and when analysing posters we
need to address what the purpose of the particular poster
Romantic Film Posters
Main Image of lead
male and female
characters, their
relationship main focus
of the movie.
Tagline based on a
romantic theme,
“Nothing on earth could
keep them apart.
Soft/Pale colours
with cloud like effect,
gives impression of
heavenly like
atmosphere or the
idea of the cliché “on
cloud nine” is
suggested here.
Movie Title
Main Actors names
featured under their
Credit Block
Location plays big
part of this movies
Romantic Film Posters
Tagline based on a
romantic/fantasy theme,
“When you can live
forever what do you live
for?” also suggestive of
horror element of being
Main Image of lead
male and female
characters, their
relationship main focus
of the movie.
Website Tagged – appealing
to the teenage target
Black used for
background and
actors in dark
clothing to show the
sub genre of horror
within the movie with
the inclusion of
vampires in the story.
Movie Title
Release Date
Horror Film Posters
“Creation” gives
impression of a
like character
Mentioning director
involved and tagging
other movies he has
been involved with and
this may also draw
fans of these movies
towards this one.
Main Actor
Scars suggest
bloody/gory trauma
happening to character
and pale make up of
actor creating
ghostly/un-dead like
Black and white
colour scheme
implies a sense of
light and dark.
Movie Title
Credit Block
Blades suggestive of a
weapon character can use
therefore this character
may be a danger
Horror Film Posters
Movie Title
Image: skeleton like
fingers with jack-olantern face adds to
the title “Halloween”
making movie seem
even more creepy
Knife suggestive of a
weapon a character can
use therefore this
anonymous character may
be a danger
Tagline quite creepy
and appropriate for
horror genre of film.
Credit Block
Black background
creates a sense of
darkness , evil and
Sci-Fi Film Posters
Stars firmly
outer space
location and sci-fi
Montage of images
including main and
iconic characters of
series, montage
creates a sense of
excitement and fast
paced action
Bright lighting effect
showing there must
be a battle scene of
some kind which
generally appeals to
male audience and
action fans
Dark background again
establishing outerspace location but also
the sense of
looking evil
Movie Title
Saga Title
Credit Block
Sci-Fi Film Posters
background colours
establishes movies
sci-fi genre
Main Actor
Image: Main actor. Pose
suggests ready for
action, typical of an
action hero so shows to
audience there will be
exciting, fast paced
Lines and rows of
robots standing
together in army like
formation giving sense
that they are cause of
trouble rising up
against human
masters and creators.
Movie Title
Credit Block
suggests action
“one man saw it
Main Features of the Genres
-Featuring the lead male and female actors and often in
a pose where they are close together, looking at each
other or touching in some way.
-Use of black as main component in colour scheme and
object/words that would suggest danger or a monster
like character e.g. a weapon (blade of some kind),
scars, skeleton like features…
-The inclusion of action elements (a battle scene still,
action hero figure…) and most importantly something
“out of the world” like an outer space setting or robots
as the posters I analysed featured

Movie Posters Codes and Conventions