Avoiding the clutches of cliche

September 22, 1988 § Leave a comment

Poster design by Mark Matsuno

Excerpted from Creative Review magazine

“STUDIO PEOPLE enjoy playing it safe,” declares leading film poster designer Mark Matsuno from his Hollywood office.

Matsuno’s on a roll, lambasting American film execs for treasuring box office receipts more than creative ingenuity in poster design. “If it’s an action film, they want action. If it’s a star film, they want star photos. If it’s a Sylvester Stallone movie, the only real criterion is where do you crop him?”

Posters are an important ingredient in the selling of any film, whose every cropped inch of Stallone muscle could mean box office losses. But, as Matsuno makes it known, posters needn’t be cold marketing tools. The challenge for designers is to create a memorable image which manages to be true to the film at the same time.

“We try not to do the obvious,” Matsuno explains. “We look for something that gives an attitude about the film, without giving too much away. The trick is to come up with something refreshing rather than the usual tired montage of events from the movie.”

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