Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Poster Trends: Visual Puns & Metaphors (part I)

I think I've mentioned before that I think movie posters are at their best when they focus on obscure plot elements that are representative of the film as a whole - OR - when they use a visual metaphor to express the theme or primary conceit of the film. Well, for this entry, I'm going to focus on just that; The Visual Puns & Metaphors

It's pretty daunting though. This particular trend is pretty general, so it's going to have to be divided into multiple parts. But it's totally worth it. I can honestly say that I did not know nearly as much about poster design until I started doing these. By deliberately looking for patterns and trying to interpret the reasoning behind those patterns, I've learned a lot about the different choices you can make in trying to represent a whole work with one image, and what consequences come from those choices.

So, without further ado...

The Silenced variation

The first thing that comes to mind with this look is, of course, censorship. And that's exactly why it's used. Most of the time, when you see a poster with this kind of metaphor, the movie is either literally telling a story about censorship (The People vs. Larry Flynt), a story about secrets "they" don't want you to know about (What Just Happened, Syriana, and Dysfunktional Family), or it's a visual way to express the word "silent" in the title (Silence of the Lambs, Silent Hill), which is a bit on-the-nose, don't you think? Especially with Silent Hill. The Silence of the Lambs poster is at least a provocative image. "Why the moth?" you think. But that Silent Hill poster just looks like a bad Photoshop job.

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