A movie poster usually determines whether or not I am going to watch the trailer or even go to the cinema. A website design is usually a crucial factor in making the decision whether a visitor is going to look through headlines and stay for some time to read the article or review the products or services. A movie poster is usually meant to:

  • call to action – i.e. encourage to watch a movie;
  • set expectations = find its targeted audience (e.g. people who prefer comedies to horror movies);
  • establish the brand – i.e. make a movie name recognizable;
  • start the buzz (e.g. “Have you seen that movie poster?“);

All in all, just the same what we want a website design to do. By studying the techniques behind creating a movie poster, we can learn some essential web design principles:

1. Don’t underestimate the power of colors. Dark neutral hues usually mean that’s a horror movie or thriller while bright colors always set expectations of an amusing comedy (same goes about a website design – color choice may determine what a visitor will first think about, his feelings and actions):

color targeting

2. Focus on your product most powerful side = e.g. if there is a celebrity starring in a movie, its poster usually gives his/her image prominence. (Choose what you are going to focus on: brand your name or your image. Don’t try to do both – or you will frustrate your visitor):

brand name vs brand image

3. Create and implement a catchy relevant slogan. Make sure it reveals your website content, catches attention and sticks in the memory:

Catchy reletave slogan

4. Even fonts matter. Have you ever noticed that a fantasy film poster is usually distinguished by specific (usually orange or red) ancient-looking cursive fonts while psychological thrillers are usually depicted with the help of plain non-ornamented proportionately-spaced fonts? (Fonts should reflect the overall website style and content)


5. Add images that clearly describe what your website is about – a vivid image is what a person will associate with a movie. (Like we already know, images are not the first thing a visitor sees when entering a website; but that’s imaginary that can get a visitor interested and foster sticky associations)


6. Sometimes minimum of elements that makes your site stand out – don’t add to many elements; focus on what is really important.


7. Set expectations. Make sure your visitor will instantly understand what your website is about. Everything matters: the words, the colors, the fonts, the imaginary, the prominence of some elements, even the gestures of the characters:

set expectations

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I am the owner of this blog as well as Brand and Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas and Founder of MyBlogGuest, MyBlogU and ViralContentBee.com

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  1. Good points Ann. Magazines use a lot of tricks that bloggers could emulate as well – they probably invented the “Ten ways to drive your …” title hook.

    I’m afraid that most small websites are like indie films in that because of budget and skill set limitations they have to hope that quality content alone will suffice.

    Nonetheless I wish I had more (or at least some) design skills.

  2. @David LaFerney – yeah, I hear you on that. Like you, I am a web design amateur. Ironically, when outsourcing web design, I am almost never satisfied with the result in terms of SEO, branding, usability, etc. The only way out was to learn web design tricks myself…

  3. What about the places the poster is shown? And the communities? It seems that the messenger is potentially as important as the message. And per Rimm-Kaufman, the target-audience (which if you’re doing TV ads or print ads, is equivalent to the messenger) is THE most important.

  4. @Gab – you are definitely right… The only thing is that I didn’t mean to touch upon the whole movie promotion thing; I wanted to analyze merely the visual representation (=web design).

    How to reach the audience with this visual representation deserves the whole new post to cover…

  5. Web design says:

    Really good combination with movie posters. Web design is a art which would be gained if we groom ourselves spending a long time on creative imaginations. As said in the blog we need to create a Web page which makes people visit the website again and again.

  6. Paul @ Webdistortion says:

    Great post, less is always more when it comes to design.

  7. Outsource Web Design says:

    Good post. Thanks for sharing.

  8. iQuest Web Design says:

    Hey nice technique! You just need to be creative in what you are doing and you will find a way. Like it a lot.

  9. The one thing I have noticed is very very nice site cost a lot more

  10. Do these sites really have to be in Flash?

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