Poster colour schemes

Paul Weimer retweeted an interesting picture:

The article he links to is really interesting. It looks how digital colour effects in film have led to the dominance of a “teal and orange” colour scheme that is visually appealing and yet unnatural.

The accompanying Tweet shows how that same colour pairing keeps appearing on movie posters. It’s not universal, for example the Avengers: Endgame uses a lot more purple than teal/blue even though it is of a similar “all the characters at different sizes” style of image. Even so, the visual similarity between the three posters in the tweet is remarkable once you see it — particularly given they are quite different films. A more extreme example, with slightly different tones:

Orange tends to be a bit bigger and the blues a bit smaller. The style usually has orange to the left and blue to the right. I think the basic template is like this:

The colours don’t quite look right as they average between bright highlights and very dark shadows. Also the figures give more shape. Changing all that to some coloured blurry blobs gives me this poster:

The most ambitious crossover event of the century

Note quite right but closer to the general effect. I’ll keep trying so I can get the style right.


10 thoughts on “Poster colour schemes

  1. After reading this, I visited Rotten Tomatoes and noticed that the poster for John Wick 3 is an even more extreme example of this, with the bulk of the image skewed toward orange.

    Sorry, but I can’t believe any film of Blurry Blobs will ever equal the novel. Definitely Boilerplate’s greatest work.

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  2. While this is a real thing, I sometimes wish discussion of that thing had not become quite as popular on the Internet as it is, because there are now people who go “Teal and orange! Goddamn teal and orange again!” at any poster that has pretty much any colors in it that aren’t green or purple. I’ve literally had someone argue to me that a picture of a desert, with a blue sky and yellow sand, is obviously another artificial teal and orange cliché.

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  3. Oh I’m pretty sure it goes back beyond 2010. Like Tom Chantrell’s original Star Wars poster:

    The half and half up-lighting though may be the more recent usage, but anything with apocalyptic type action/explosions usually does at least one poster with orange flame up-lighting teal and dark blue.


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