FIDM Museum & Galleries Hosts a Special Q&A with Movie Poster Pros for Graphic Design & Digital Students & Alumni

FIDM Museum & Galleries was thrilled to celebrate the art of movie poster design by hosting a special private event, an Exclusive Q&A with Movie Poster Pros, for Graphic Design and Digital Media Students and Alumni at FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.

The movie poster panelists included creative director and president of boutique design firm, Blood & Chocolate, Mark Crawford; account and project supervisor at entertainment advertising agency, The Refinery, Molly Kloss; the vice president of creative advertising and content for CBS Films, Eric Mickelson; and senior art director and creative director at entertainment design firm, Art Machine, Rigel Morrison.

Each panelist talked about the creative process, and shared unique behind-the-scenes images of movie posters and trailers for the films The Iron Lady, The Woman in Black, Real Steel, Water for Elephants and Priest.

The audience, comprised of many aspiring movie poster designers and movie trailer editors, were captivated by the presenters who shared industry tips and stories behind the campaigns for major blockbuster films.

Crawford, who developed the iconic eye-catching movie poster for The Iron Lady depicting Academy Award®-winning actress Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, shared examples of posters that didn’t make the cut (also known as “comps”), discussing the importance of conceptual thinking. He also touched on the impact that a movie poster can have on the public’s perception of a film, and the importance of portraying the film studio’s intended message through a single image.

“Your image becomes the representation of a multi-million dollar production,” he said.

The Iron Lady movie posters

[Above: (from top) Key art for The Iron Lady, designed by Mark Crawford of Blood & Chocolate, FIDM Graphic Design Students observe design comps for The Iron Lady presented by Crawford at an Exclusive Movie Poster Q&A event.]

The Woman in Black Key Art/Movie Poster

(Above: Key art for CBS Films’ “The Woman in Black.”)

Representing the studio-side of movie marketing was Mickelson, who oversaw the creative print marketing and trailer campaigns for The Woman in Black. Mickelson pointed out some of the subtle details in both the key art and A/V campaign that were used to instill a “creepy” feeling to its audience such as muted sepia-toned colors, quiet sound effects and a limited emphasis on leading actor, Daniel Radcliffe, in his first role since the Harry Potter series.

Next to present was Morrison, a skilled illustrator, who explained how movie poster designers often build their posters using little-to-no assets, such as photographs of the actors. Using the poster campaign for the film, Real Steel, as an example, Morrison showed how several pieces of various images were blended together to build a single image of the robots depicted in the film’s poster campaign.

Rigel Morrison presents a breakdown of the Real Steel movie poster campaign.[Above: Rigel Morrison of Art Machine presents a breakdown of the Real Steel movie poster campaign to FIDM Students]
Molly Kloss presents the Water for Elephants movie poster campaigns for domestic and international audiences to FIDM Students.

(Above: Molly Kloss of The Refinery presents “Water for Elephants” movie poster campaigns for domestic & international audiences to FIDM Students.)

Finally, Kloss discussed how movie marketing is adapted for different audiences, citing print campaigns and marketing for the films Priest, and Water for Elephants. For example, domestic campaigns often vary from international campaigns, and even home entertainment marketing is often designed to cater to the needs of a retailer based on its target customer.

Students earning their Graphic Design degree at FIDM said the panelists inspired them, reigniting their interest in the entertainment design industry.

“My favorite part of the Movie Panel Q&A was being able to see artists who have been working in entertainment graphic design for so long and seeing how passionate and excited they are about their work after all this time,” said Nicole Antonian, a current student studying Graphic Design/Entertainment at FIDM. “Each panel member brought work that was completely different. From an Academy Award winning movie to a thriller film, to an action-based film, to a romance film.”

Another Graphic Design/Entertainment Student, Marianna Holguin, said that what struck her most about the panel was Morrison’s commentary on how movie poster designers get to make art for a living.

“This was a big reason I came to FIDM. I wanted a career, not just a job. I don’t just want to do something creative- I need to,” she said. “The Q&A just reaffirmed that I am exactly where I need to be, and I’m so excited to get in there and get started.”

FIDM Graphic Design/Entertainment Students, Nicole Antonian (left) and Marianna Holguin[Above: FIDM Graphic Design/Entertainment Students, Nicole Antonian (left) and Marianna Holguin]

The Movie Poster Panel Q&A panelists also toured FIDM Museum & Galleries 20th Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition, featuring 100 costumes from 20 films released in 2011, including 2012 Academy Award® Best Costume-nominated films Anonymous, Hugo, Jane Eyre, W.E., and the Academy Award® Best Costume-winning film, The Artist, during their visit.

Crawford told that as a panelist, it was interesting to hear the perspective and concerns of students who are preparing to go into the entertainment design industry.

“Getting the opportunity to meet some of the students and sharing my experiences as well as hearing what they aspire to do was the best part about participating in the panel,” he said.

His presentation reminded the audience that although sometimes it sounds as if a creative career is full of struggle and difficulty, to remember how much fun it is to be a creative professional.

Mark Crawford quote

“It is the most fun thing. It is a hard process, but it is worth it,” he said. “The best part about working in this field is helping to create something that will live with that particular movie forever– the poster.”

Movie Poster Pros pose at FIDM Museum & Galleries[Above, from left: Eric Mickelson of CBS Films, Rigel Morrison of Art Machine, Molly Kloss of The Refinery, Karen Crawford and Mark Crawford of Blood & Chocolate pose together at FIDM Museum & Galleries for a special Movie Poster Panel Q&A for FIDM Graphic Design/Entertainment Students and Alumni.]

Check out more photos from the Movie Poster Q&A, below. Click on the thumbnails to expand the image.

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Author: Mani O'Brien

Mani O’Brien is the Online Editor for the FIDMDigitalArts Blog and the Social Media Marketing Manager for FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in print journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications at Arizona State University in 2006, and Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design (Professional Designation) at FIDM in 2010. When she’s not brainstorming social media marketing ideas or writing about the graphic design and digital media, she enjoys practicing yoga, reading magazines, and hanging out with friends and family in Los Angeles.

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