March 30, 2010


Here's a pitch-perfect example of people getting everything wrong. Yes, I'm talking about these people out there in La-La-Land, who are carrying their business cards like they alone are enough for them be called "professional".

It's the US domestic one-sheet for Iron Man 2. A photoshopped mess of epic proportions. An abortion of every rule that has ever been put up for good commercial design. The cheap, Chinese crap version of everything a movie poster should achieve.

Maybe they thought, who gives a damn? It's a fucking sequel. People will come for the Downey Jr. alone. Why bother? Here you go, intern, slap me some shit together. But on a fucking budget, you hear me?

Of course the composition is attempting to emulate who I (but not just me) consider to be the biggest legend of "blockbuster" one-sheets, Indiana Jones' and Star Wars' Drew Struzan, but the thing is, such a complex composition only works if things are not assembled from different CGI shots and photos... they have to be actually composed by an artist., and...

... that one sheet makes about every mistake known to designers

And since it is a sequel, it wouldn't be fair to compare it to Struzan's brilliant original one-sheet for Raiders of the Lost Ark, but one can take the one-sheet for Indiana Jones and the Monkeys on Shia's Back as a good comparison.

Everything in Struzan's composition is balanced. The Indiana Jones running towards what will be the title insert, the star of the movie is looking the prospective audience in the eye. Everything is designed to leap out at the person looking at it.

In the Iron Man 2 one-sheet, do you notice something?

That's right.

The only one looking at the prospective ticket buyer is tiny Gwyneth Paltrow in the lower right. Everybody else does their best to not look at you. It lets your eye drift out of the one-sheet, since eyes are designed to follow the line of sight that is given by the people in the photo. So Downey looks up to the left, Cheadle looks to the upper right, Johannsen doesn't look at anything.

If one of my designers had given me this as a poster, I would have sent him/her back to design school.