This week I want to talk about the movie poster from the upcoming film “The Butler”, starring Forest Whitaker, Terrence Howard, Oprah Winfrey, James Marsden, Lenny Kravitz, among others. Besides having an all-star cast, the movie promises to deliver a great many accounts in American politics, ranging from President Eisenhower to Reagan.
The Butler is based on the true story of Eugene Allen, a black butler who worked at the White House for more than thirty years, through times of segregation and the civil rights movement. Danny strong, who wrote the screenplay for the fictional account of Mr. Allen’s life, created a work based on an article that he found interesting. For more on Strong’s account of how he brought Eugene Allen’s story to life, read this interview in the Boston Globe.
I found two posters that were connected to this movie. As you know from previous posts on poster design, I always like to include more than one design and let you decide which one you prefer. I usually include an illustrated one (if there is one) and the Photoshop design as well.
Here is the “Photoshopped” one, as I like to call them. In this image we can figure out what the story is without the need of any text. The attire of the protagonist is telling us he works serving. From his surroundings, we know he’s in the White House. He’s looking outside, watching how the world changes and civil rights become a reality. All of this during his role as a butler. Now, does that tell us anything about the movie? Yes. However, this design could be improved by removing the names of the actors (although stellar ones as they are) and keep the window clear of text. I would also make the text for the director and writer smaller. It’s too big and it becomes distracting.
Let’s now take a look at the illustrated one. It’s simple, it has the American Flag which tells us it’s related to the White House or American politics, and the figure of a butler. This one combines photography with illustration. The way it’s been done renders a messy result. I would’ve preferred a more subtle, minimalistic approach. Also, the font used for the actors, director and writer does not work with the movie. I’m not sure what the designer was trying to do here. Perhaps have a handwritten-like font to demonstrate the humble background of our protagonist.
So, I’m thinking, is that why this font was used? I think the overall composition doesn’t work for me. It seems a little random. For that reason, I would pick the first one as a better design and a better composition.
What are your thoughts?
Thanks again for reading!