Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

GDS 273 Illustration I
Project 2: Minimalist Movie Poster


Instructor: Liza Wynette


To develop conceptual thinking skills. To apply composition and illustration skills to real-world visual communication problems.

Secondary Objective

To utilize the Adobe Creative Suite as an illustration and production tool.


Each student will design a minimalist movie poster in the style of Jason Munn for Alamo Drafthouse. The size of the poster must match industry standard "one-sheets" (27x40 inches).

Required elements for each poster:

  • movie title
  • tag line
  • illustration (original)
  • stars (if pertinent)
  • director (if pertinent)
  • awards (if pertinent)
  • text: "June 5, 2016 • Alamo Drafthouse Cinema presents the Texas Monthly Rolling Roadshow • Austin TX"
  • up to 3 PMS colors (maximum)

As a class, determine which movie each student will design from the following list (see sign-up sheet ):

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • A Streetcar Named Desire
  • African Queen, The
  • All About Eve
  • All the President's Men
  • American Graffiti
  • An American in Paris
  • Annie Hall
  • Apocalypse Now
  • Bicycle Thieves
  • Big Lebowski
  • Blade Runner
  • Blair Witch Project
  • Blazing Saddles
  • Brazil
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's
  • Bridge on the River Kwai, The
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • Cabaret
  • Casablanca
  • Chinatown
  • Citizen Kane
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Deer Hunter, The
  • Donnie Darko
  • Doctor Zhivago
  • Duck Soup
  • 8-1/2
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
  • Easy Rider
  • Eraserhead
  • Fargo
  • Forrest Gump
  • Frankenstein
  • French Connection, The
  • From Here to Eternity
  • General, The (1926)
  • Giant
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Goodfellas
  • Godfather, The
  • Graduate, The
  • Grapes of Wrath, The
  • Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
  • Harold and Maude
  • High Noon
  • It's a Wonderful Life
  • Jaws
  • Juno
  • King Kong (1933)
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • Maltese Falcon, The
  • MASH
  • Matrix, The
  • Metropolis (1927)
  • Midnight Cowboy
  • Modern Times
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • Mutiny on the Bounty
  • Nightmare Before Christmas
  • North by Northwest
  • On the Waterfront
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • Pink Flamingoes
  • Psycho
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Raging Bull
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Rebel Without a Cause
  • Reefer Madness
  • Rocky
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Run Lola Run
  • Schindler's List
  • Seven Samurai
  • Shawshank Redemption, The
  • Silence of the Lambs, The
  • Singin' in the Rain
  • Sixth Sense, The
  • Some Like It Hot
  • Sound of Music, The
  • Star Wars
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • Taxi Driver
  • Third Man, The
  • Titanic
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Toy Story
  • Unforgiven
  • Vertigo
  • West Side Story
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • Wings of Desire
  • Wizard of Oz, The
  • Wuthering Heights

Extra credit: Design additional posters to add samples to your portfolio.

Per our syllabus, you may ONLY use the standard "core" fonts installed in D019 for your assignments unless you obtain prior approval from the instructor (see Parkland's Core Fonts Specimen Sheet). Please talk to your instructor if you need to use a non-standard font from the Adobe Font Folio collection.

Your design must show an understanding of unity, emphasis, balance and color theory. When appropriate, utilize rhythm and depth as well.


1. Research for inspiration: Look for simple designs with very few colors that might translate well to the silkscreen printing process. Be sure to review trade publications (Print, How, Communication Arts), annuals (Workbook, Society of Illustrators), and web sites like I-Spot or Altpick. Scan (instructions) and publish your research on your personal Process Page for critique (be sure to caption each image and cite the source). Be prepared to explain why these examples are successful. Also print select research samples for your Process Book. 

2. Marketing research: Research your client. What is the client's history? Are there any unique selling points for this business? Who is the competition? Analyze your research and write a written statement of objectives in the form of a memo (see sample). Be sure to include descriptive adjectives in the "character" paragraph (see vocabulary wheel). Have your brief reviewed by the Writing Lab, then email your brief as an attached Word file or a shared Google Doc to (instructions).

3. Incubation: Absorb the information you have gathered and sleep on it. Allow your unconscious mind to make connections for you.

4. Develop the concept: In your sketchbook begin to conceptualize ideas for this project (see examples of sketches). Make at least 10 sketches of all possible directions you might take this project. Edit your concepts down to your best three ideas and redraw them on 8.5 x 11 white paper using a felt tip pen. Scan (scale/crop in Photoshop: no wider than 1000 pixels), increase the contrast (see tutorial) and publish your concepts on your personal Process Page for critique. Be prepared to discuss how your design fulfills the client's marketing objectives. Also print your sketches for your Process Book.

5. Proof: Based on the critique of the above, use the computer to execute at least two versions of your best idea (present at least one proof with an alternate font choice). Publish one multi-page low-res PDF (instructions) linked from your Process Page for critique. Be prepared to talk about what design principles are utilized in your design. Also print a high-quality color proof for your Process Book.

6. Final critique: Based on the critique of the above, revise your design (if needed), then print a final proof on 11x17 paper for critique (see printing tips). Prepare a presentation to justify your design decisions. Also publish one multi-page high-res PDF (instructions) on your personal Process Page.

7. Grading: Based on the critique above, refine your design (if needed). Submit two copies of your work for grading. One proof will be returned to you after grading. File the graded proof in your Process Book for individual review along with all the preliminary work you did for the project (research, brief, sketches, preliminary proofs, final proof). Review your Process Page and make sure you have an accurate record of your process. Also submit one multi-page high-res PDF (instructions) via Cobra's dropbox. You will not receive full credit for this project if any of the above elements are missing.  

8. Portfolio preparation: If you are happy with the results of this project, consider including it in your portfolio. If necessary, continue to make refinements until you are 100% satisfied with the project. Be sure to back-up all your files for future editing.

9. Extra credit: Submit your project into next year's student show by printing an art gallery quality proof and mounting it on foam board. Also prepare an archival quality JPEG (see example) (1000px wide, no larger than 200K) and submit your project using the online entry form at Your project may win a cash prize and be published in a showcase of student work on Parkland's website.

Last updated: 8/10/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young