Good news for anyone who’s ever looked at a movie poster and thought, “Haven’t I seen this one before?”: You might not be suffering from memory loss! Hollywood poster designers apparently just like to repeat themselves a lot.
A recent piece on Mentorless collects the work of French film analyst Christophe Courtois, who frequently posts compilations of the design motifs most commonly used by movie poster designers. Using images like a solitary eye, a women in a back-breaking pose, or a liberal use of the color red, the gallery is a testament to the tricks that designers use to get their work to stand out. On a theater wall, these images demanded attention, but when clustered together in one place, the repetition creates an almost mosaic-like effect.
Although the tone of the Mentorless piece is that these poster designs have been overused, it’s pretty cool to see them all together in one place. You can even pick out some trends if you look at the movies being represented—thrillers tend to get the single staring eye treatment, while all-yellow seems to be poster designer shorthand for “low-budget quirky comedy”. If nothing else, it suggests that there are only so many ways to express a movie’s entire appeal using nothing but a picture, a tagline, and a title.