Make Minimalist Movie Posters

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Get students to make a minimalist movie poster as part of a lesson on semiotics or visual literacy.

Critical concepts: semiotics, minimalist design, visual communication.
Creative task: make minimalist movie poster.
Author: Dr Jodie Taylor, Dr Toby Wren, SAE Creative Media Institute;

Conceptual Basis

As we learned in a recent online lesson, Semiotics is the study of signs and their interpretations.

Rather than being an abstract philosophy, semiotics helps us to understand the ways in which information is encoded and decoded; and, at the myth level, the way that signs can support or contradict ideologies. In semiotics, everything from language, to sounds, to pictures, to video, to gesture and dress, are considered signs, open to being read and interpreted. Of course you knew how to interpret signs well before you knew there was something called semiotics, but being aware of the ways that signs work and the connotations that various signs carry for different groups of people is an essential tool for a creative media producer.

To make sense of the minimalist movie posters above, you need to draw on a sophisticated vocabulary of signs and their meanings. How is it that the movie ‘Star Wars’ can be represented by a circle with a line through it and another smaller ellipse? These are simple geometric shapes, but can we even imagine that anyone would have a different interpretation of this particular arrangement of geometric shapes?

This task is designed to reveal to you the visual literacy that you draw on every day by asking you to critically engage with the visual language of a piece of media, and carefully consider the ways that you can use signs to convey meaning.

The Task

Apply your growing understanding of semiotics to the creation of your own minimalist poster. Consider carefully what you will choose to represent and how you will choose to represent it. Consider what the defining visual imagery of your chosen media is, and how you could represent that with the fewest possible lines or symbols.

  1. Choose a TV series, movie, game or other piece of media.
  2. Identify something that you think visually defines your chosen media.
  3. Design a minimalist poster using the examples above for inspiration. Test it out to see if your friends ‘get’ your interpretation.
  4. Share your poster on the class Pinterest board.


You could use any simple graphics tool (or even Powerpoint or Word) to make your poster. You could even try the free apps or browser-based graphics programs listed in theCreative Apps toolkit below.

Apps for Creativity – Scholarship and Speculation

This list features 50+ apps to help inspire your creativity and make it easier for you to edit or create images, videos, music, games, animations, comics, digital stories, magazines, websites, apps and interactive designs. It also includes apps to help … READ MORE

You could also consider sourcing some images from an image repository such as the noun project:

Noun Project: Free Icons & Stock Photos for Everything

Noun Project features the most diverse collection of icons and stock photos ever. Download SVG and PNG. Browse over 3 million art-quality icons and photos.

Free Icons and Stickers – Millions of resources to download

We are sorry you canceled your Premium subscription You can still enjoy Flaticon Collections with the following limits: You can choose only 3 collections to keep You can only add up to 100 icons per collection You cannot add Premium icons to your collection The advantages of your collections changed

Or you might be comfortable with older technologies… It is up to you!

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Check out the following great sources for more inspiration, but don’t look too long(!)… you might see the piece of media you were thinking of doing yourself.

A Big Gallery of Minimal Movie Posters

Minimal Movie Posters

These two posters are the finalists for the Now You See Me fan poster competition, which I posted about here. Let’s call the top one Option 1, and the second Option 2. Now you’ll get to help to choose the winner by answering this question: which poster do you prefer, Option 1 or Option 2?

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And don’t forget that sharing is caring so be sure to pin your poster to the class Pinterest board.