A Bold Visualization Depicting the Evolution of Movie Poster Colors

A Bold Visualization Depicting the Evolution of Movie Poster Colors

Jun 18, 2012


click image to enlarge

Vijay Pandurangan was chatting with a friend, noting that he felt today's movie posters are extremely dark-colored in their design. 

"I mentioned how I felt that most movie posters these days were very blue and dark. She didn’t fully believe me and challenged me to prove it. I looked around, and found some people had done this with a few posters over the last few years, but I became curious about the longer-term trends and what they would show. So, as any engineer would do, I wrote some code!"
The result is an eye-popping graphic that uses data from 35,000 posters dating back to 1914. Each image was condensed in colored pixel form, and then sorted by year and hue. Website Gizmodo shared a possible explanation for the shifting rainbow, which we can jibe with. "Perhaps the colors say less about how movie posters' colors as a whole and color trends, than they do about how genres of movies have evolved." They point out that there are far more dark thrillers and sci-fi films now than almost 100 years ago, which could account for the inky palette. We'd also like to offer that the creation of film posters has evolved, shifting away from artist's handmade creations (which have always seemed vividly depicted to us), to printers and distributors, and then studio controlled production houses. 
Let us know what you think about the graphic above. Pandurangan also created an interactive version and promised to fix the issue with year 1924 sometime next week. Stay tuned for an updated graphic on his blog.

Categories: Movie Posters
Tags: Posters
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