A survey of recent movie posters led to a choice of three with very different typographic styles and layouts.
While all three appear to generally conform to the rule of thirds, each uses that space differently to draw the eye across or around the image.
Both Split and Obit. have short titles that have been set so large as to create an instant focal point for the poster, while A Monster Calls uses a stacked set of type set more subtly on the left.
In each case, the type remains the focal point, even allowing for the different sizes – the contrast to background has been carefully considered in each case, to ensure this.
There are thousands of example posters to look at, some of which do present an actor’s name as the most prominent, however in the case that the subject or title is deemed more important, the title is given most prominence in a large percentage of movie posters.
Colour, which is almost entirely missing from these, is used in different ways, but always in support of the emotive content of the film. A monster calls uses a sunset/sunrise colour scheme, combined with forest items, and creates a soft, dreamy style, while both of the other posters use very little colour, opting for strongly contrasted black and white instead. For Obit., this works to evoke the style of a newspaper, but also to suggest a black and white working environment. As a thriller, Split uses no colour except for the head of the small human figure. The stark black shadows, one menacing, and the strong stacked layered type of the film title serve to create a sense of foreboding.
It is clear from this research that a simple design, single prominent focal point, and careful use of shape and colour to keep the eye moving around the poster, are considered most important.