Trends Used In Comedy Movie Posters From 1915 to 2010




Movie posters are a fantastic source of inspiration for artists and designers of all kinds. Different genres of film tend to have different techniques and trends – sci-fi posters tend to be dark, gloomy and atmospheric for example, whereas comedy posters (as showcased in this article) are quite minimal (especially posters designed in the more modern day such as the 90′s and 2000′s).

This compilation showcases a total of nintey-nine comedy posters, that’s one poster per year going all the way back to 1915. Throughout the decades and years we can see how movie poster design has developed from full-on painted works of art to incredible rendered posters and digitally textured photographs.

We ask for one thing in return for showcasing this awesome collection of posters: What are your favorite posters showcased in the article, and why? Be sure to let us know in the comments section at the bottom of the post!

The 1910′s

An obvious trend used in the very early 1900′s were borders. From oddly shaped yellow borders in ‘Hearts and Planets’ to green triangle patterned borders used in ‘His Picture in the Papers’. It was clear a lot of effort went into these early movie posters.

1915 – Hearts and Planets

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1916 – His Picture in the Papers

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1917 – The Man from the Painted Post

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1918 – Mickey

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1919 – Daddy Long Legs

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The 1920′s

In the posters showcased below for the 1920′s we see a bit of everything, from minimalisticism in ‘Woman-Proof’ and ‘The Cohens and the Kellys’, monochromatic images in ‘Along Came Ruth’, to basic comic drawings in ‘So This Is College’.

1920 – The Texan

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1921 – Alf’s Button

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1922 – French Heels

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1923 – Woman-Proof

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1924 – Along Came Ruth

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1925 – Little Annie Rooney

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1926 – The Cohens and the Kellys

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1927 – Casey at the Bat

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1928 – The Fleets In

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1929 – So this is College

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The 1930′s

Although typography strokes were used prior to the 1930′s, I feel they were taken to the next level in this decade. Strokes were used to make text appear three-dimensional in movie posters such as ‘Check and Double Check’ and ‘The Devil is a Sissy’.

1930 – Check and Double Check

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1931 – City Lights

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1932 – Dance Team

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1933 – Duck Soup

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1934 – Gay Love

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1935 – Top Hat

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1936 – The Devil is a Sissy

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1937 – Wild and Woolly

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1938 – Bringing Up Baby

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1939 – At The Circus

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The 1940′s

The 1940′s seems to be the year when comedy movie posters actually had a fun and energetic feel to them. Oversized heads were used in the poster ‘A Night in Casablanca’ and there are smiles all round.

1940 – A Chump at Oxford

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1941 – Mr. Bug goes to Town

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1942 – Tortilla Flat

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1943 – Girl Crazy

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1944 – Cover Girl

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1945 – The Charlie Chaplin Cavalcade

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1946 – A Night in Casablanca

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1947 – The Egg and I

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1948 – The Boy with Green Hair

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1949 – I was a Male Bride

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The 1950′s

Experimental compositions started to come into play in the 50′s. Prior to the 50′s, most posters were made up from individual images and some typography, whereas in the 50′s posters are composed using several different images – a huge step in the movie poster world, giving it’s viewers more of a feel for the movie.

1950 – Key to the City

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1951 – Let’s Make It Legal

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1952 – Love is Better Than Ever

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1953 – Stalag 17

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1954 – Sabrina

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1955 – The Trouble With Harry

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1956 – Around the World in 80 Days

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1957 – Funny Face

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1958 – Damn Yankees

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1959 – Some Like It Hot

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The 1960′s

As color was becoming easier to process, more bright and vivid color schemes were being used in movie posters of the 60′s. Bright blues, pinks and oranges were used in ‘Once More, With Feeling!’ as well as what looks like real developed photographs instead of illustrated paintings.

1960 – Once More, With Feeling!

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1961 – One, Two, Three

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1962 – The Road to Hong Kong

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1963 – Sunday in New York

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1964 – Never Put it in Writing

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1965 – The Art of Love

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1966 – Alfie

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1967 – Thoroughly Modern Millie

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1968 – Salt and Pepper

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1969 – Some Kind of a Nut

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The 1970′s

The 70′s saw hand-drawn sketches being merged with photographic portraits in Walt Disneys ‘Boatniks’, early use of grid-based design in ‘Trafic’, and simple two-color color schemes such as that used in the ‘Outrageous!’ movie poster.

1970 – Boatniks

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1971 – Guess What!?!

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1972 – Trafic

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1973 – Bummer!

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1974 – The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat

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1975 – Six Pack Annie

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1976 – The Shaggy D.A.

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1977 – Outrageous!

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1978 – Malibu Beach

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1979 – The Jerk

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The 1980′s

Minimalism became a big trend in movie poster design in the 80′s that posters such as ‘They All Laughed’, ‘Fast Times’, ‘Private School’ and ‘Bad Medicine’ all followed. Grid-based design continued to grow, with more and more elements in the posters being aligned to one another to create an easy composition for the eyes to scan.

1980 – Middle Age Crazy

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1981 – They All Laughed

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1982 – Fast Times

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1983 – Private School

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1984 – Where The Boys Are ’84

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1985 – Bad Medicine

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1986 – Off Beat

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1987 – Nice Girls Don’t Explode

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1988 – Twins

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1989 – Loverboy

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The 1990′s

We don’t see many more trends in the early or mid 90′s, only improvements on the trends and techniques that were already in place.

Minimalism was still a huge factor of movie poster design, as well as grid-design. However, the posters do look much more adventurous, using different techniques to attract the viewers attention. In 1995 ‘Toy Story’ was released, along with it came several superb animated film posters using handfuls of technology. ‘American Pie’ broke the rule of the grid, purposely tilting the grid sideways to create a unique look.

1990 – Men at Work

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1991 – Only the Lonely

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1992 – Home Alone

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1993 – The Sandlot

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1994 – Dreisam

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1995 – Toy Story

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1996 – Happy Gilmore

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1997 – Flubber

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1998 – Antz

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1999 – American Pie

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The 2000′s

The future is here and computer software is getting more and more powerful – I’m sure most of you will recognize most of these posters, meaning they did there job correctly and stuck in your mind for all these years. We see some more great animated posters from ‘Monsters, Inc.’, ‘Surf’s Up’ and ‘Cloudy with a chance of Meat Balls’.

2000 – Scary Movie

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2001 – Monters, Inc.

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2002 – Jackass: The Movie

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2003 – Bruce Almighty

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2004 – Dodgeball

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2005 – The 40 Year-Old Virgin

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2006 – Big Mommas House

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2007 – Surf’s Up

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2008 – Bedtime Stories

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2009 – Cloudy with a chance of Meat Balls

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The trends of 2010

Here are four comedy posters that are due to be released in 2010:

2010 – Despicable Me

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2010 – Shrek: The Final Chapter

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2010 – Toy Story 3

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2010 – Youth in Revolt

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Your Turn To Talk

I hope you enjoyed this post! Please take a minute to chime in and leave a comment below. Which posters were your favorites?

source: IMP Awards

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About the author:

Callum Chapman is a self-employed designer, illustrator & blogger. View his work at Circlebox Creative. He is also the founder of Picmix Store, a store dedicated to limited edition prints, and The Inspiration Blog. Drop him a line on Twitter!

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