THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GRAPHIC DESIGNING
During his 15 years in Hollywood, Tomasz Opasinski reports that he has co-designed posters for over 300 films. The designer of iconic designs for films like Oblivion and I Am Legend, who is now Netflix’s Originals Creative, started his career as a graphic designer in his native Poland before moving to the United States to work for a string of top design firms, an experience that was both challenging and rewarding. For more details about apps-games click here.
He explains, “Young designers see the glamour, the superstars, and it’s not like that.” “You don’t see any superstars for the first ten years; all you see is your computer.” I’ve worked on over 500 projects, and it’s all been a lot of fun, but it’s also been a lot of work.”
The creation of a poster is a lengthy process.
Tomasz explains, “People don’t know how much effort goes into poster design.” “They think we only have one picture, so we put the text on it and send it to the client, and they say, ‘Whoo, awesome!’ ‘Here’s $600,000,’ says the narrator. That isn’t the case at all.”
A standard poster campaign begins about 18 months before a film’s release, when the script is approved. During that time, the designers will produce a series of posters that become increasingly unique. Following the initial release, additional designs may accompany the DVD release or collectors’ copies, as well as a ‘payoff poster,’ which is a design created when it is assumed that the majority of viewers have already seen the film and there are no plot twists left to reveal.
For a major film, poster artists may be required to submit 20-40 designs each week for a year, beginning before the live shoot, when no actual assets from the film are available. Tomasz jokes, “It may be easier to make a movie than it is to make a movie poster.” “You must make something out of nothing.”
You must work quickly.
While a typical poster designer may only complete one or two projects per week, they are likely to work on three different projects per day. “You start one project in the morning, you start another at lunch, which you eat at your desk, and you start another at the end of the day – which is probably 8 or 9 p.m.,” Tomasz explains. “It’s a wild schedule,” says the narrator. Click here for movies & Films animation.
A mid-level designer may be asked to work on four or five projects in a day, while a senior designer may be asked to work on six or seven. “It doesn’t matter how many beautiful posters you can create in the end,” Tomasz says. “What matters is how quickly you can make one.”
You’re a member of a large group.
A poster designer is only one member of a larger team of creatives that includes everything from photographers and copywriters to the director and studio executives. However, even within the design department, you can expect to be a member of a large team: several agencies employ up to 80 designers.
“Poster-making has taken on a factory mentality,” Tomasz says. “It’s no longer just one guy sitting at home; it’s revision after revision, and each version must be approved by a large number of people.”
A poster is a marketing tool, not a work of art.
A movie poster’s goal is to lead the viewer to the key plot twist in the film and then leave them wanting more. “A poster is a sales tool,” Tomasz explains. “It’s creative, but it’s not a work of art. Your abstract poster can be lovely, but if no one sees it, it will be forgotten.”
Don’t think that the lovely fan-made posters sold by companies like Mondo are representative of the work of poster designers. “I love them,” Tomasz says, “but people misunderstand them as the key poster for a campaign.” “They don’t promote the film at the start; they do so at the end to keep the buzz going.”
You’re working on a data-driven design project.
Empirical science, not creative imagination, is increasingly driving poster design. Movie studios assign keywords to the tone and content of posters, such as “car,” “spaceship,” “city,” “nostalgic,” “futuristic,” and so on, and study what has worked in the past for similar films, or conduct A/B testing of different designs. Often, the end result is a precise calculation for how much space should be taken up by some imagery, such as the face of the movie’s star, and how much space should be taken up by other imagery.
“As a poster designer, I didn’t have to follow these rules a few years ago, but now I do,” Tomasz says. “However, don’t be alarmed: there is still a place for art. Although the designs are data-driven, they are still my creative interpretation of the data.”
You must learn to communicate quickly.
A poster is the visual equivalent of an elevator pitch: it must sell the film in the shortest amount of time. “We only have one or two seconds to explain what the movie is about,” Tomasz says. “Most of the time, my poster is competing with 50 others.”
As a result, according to Tomasz, the director is always the least helpful person to get input on a poster design from. He says, “They know way too much about the movie.” “They want to add everything, and all we have to do now is find an icon,” says the narrator. We need to plan for those who are passing by.”