Ready to start making your own movie posters? Well, we have all the dimensions you need to get started. In fact, these are the same templates and dimensions used at professional movie poster design agencies.
How do you know these are the legit dimensions and templates? Well, because I’m an art director that has worked for most of the major design agencies in Hollywood, and these are the ones I use almost daily, depending on projects, of course.
Are there more than 5 different sizes of movie posters? Of course! There are different types like 2 Sheets, Quads, Half Sheets, Door Panels, and plenty of other uniquely sized art specs for outdoor advertising. This post is focusing on the most used.
What types of movie poster templates are we talking about?
Nowadays, there are seven types of movie poster templates used regularly. If you want to learn about these seven different types of movie posters, then you will want to read this article before proceeding:
Now that you are caught up to speed on the different types of posters used, we can start talking about the templates you will need.
Payoff One Sheets
These are generally the posters that everyone thinks about when you mention movie posters. The payoff is the top dog when it comes to poster hierarchy.
The reason being is that it will usually feature the main actors, the actor’s names, some enticing copy, perhaps the date of release, and the billing, which credits the director, producers, studios involved, and other important people involved with the production.
The payoff posters you see in movie theaters come in at a dimension of 27 inches wide by 40 inches tall. Does that mean your photoshop file needs to be that big? Not necessarily.
What I mean is that if you are making multiple different designs for your movie, you are probably not going to want to design your posters at full DPI and full dimensions, just because you will be using a lot of computer RAM and energy, which if you have a less than optimal computer it will slow your computer down tremendously and even crash it from time to time.
What’s the solution?
Build your designs on a smaller template at 13.5 inches wide and 20 inches tall with only 200 DPI. This way, your computer should be able to handle it better. Files built with these specs are usually known as “comps.”
Side note: when working freelance from home, I use an iMac 2015 with a 3.3 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 and 32 GB of RAM. It gets the job done, but I’m ready to upgrade as when I design huge Photoshop files with numerous layers, I do see a lot of slow down. Usually, when working at an agency in-house, they will provide you with a better rig.
What about the bleed?
Bleed is significant as you don’t want to lose any artwork and type due to the printer. The templates we are providing have a bleed; however, if you have your posters printed out, you will need to follow the printer’s advice.
When you submit your poster for printing, they will provide you with a proof that will show where the artwork gets cut, and you will have to authorize them to move forward with the printing should you find the bleed suitable.
(Please note that the printer will usually provide specs on the DPI and sizes they recommend, so the finished file may need to change. The one I’m providing is used mostly in the agencies I have worked at.)
Here is the downloadable PDF file for making a payoff poster known as a “comp.” It’s in a PDF format because Word Press won’t allow a Photoshop PSD file to be downloaded. Just download the template in PDF format and save it as a Photoshop file.
Teasers are way fun to make, and they are exactly as they sound, teasers. They usually hint at what’s to come in a movie that’s about to be released. They are usually clever, entail some good copy and provide just enough artistic information for you to want more.
The cool thing is that teasers are the same exact dimensions as payoffs.
Multiple Character Series Posters
If you want to add a series of character posters, you will use the same dimensions as the payoff and teaser posters. Character series usually have at least 3 of the main characters and up to 12 or more, but then again, Avengers: End Game had 32 character posters done!
Outdoor Wild Posts
Time to step into the urban jungle and make some outdoor advertising!
That’s right; all those posters and wheat pastes you seel plastered over construction site walls, designated plywood stands on vacant property, and run-down buildings are called “wild posts.”
There are companies that specialize in plastering your art all over the city and sometimes known as street teams.
Generally speaking, all the major big-budget Hollywood movies will order a few rounds of Wild Posts. The cool thing is that Wild Posts are generally a little more creative with fewer rules.
We art directors usually build Wild Posts in a 3 part connecting series, like a triptych. Each individual poster has dimensions of 13.5 inches wide and 20.5 inches tall, but you can build your “comp” in the full dimension size of 40.5 inches wide and 20.5 inches tall.
Perhaps you want to design some Wild Posts for your upcoming independent film. Then use these dimensions to get your artwork going. When you lock in on an idea, you will need to get a spec sheet from the printer you want to use.
If you are making Wild Posts for your own movie, then you may want to save money and go out and post them yourself. Just beware, posting Wild Posts on private property can be illegal, so identify your city laws before proceeding.
Go big or go home! If you have a budget to play with or just cashed in some of your Bitcoins, then perhaps a Billboard will suit your advertising needs.
If that’s the case, you will need to design an amazing and enticing billboard. Billboards need to be striking and easy to read, so be sure the type isn’t too abstract, and the imagery translates. If you want to buy billboard space, you can usually find companies that specialize in billboards.
They will give you billboard street locations, average traffic count and sizes.
The dimensions we design with at agencies are usually 30 inches wide and 8.75 inches tall at 150 DPI. However, there are numerous different sizes of billboards out there, so be sure to get the specs from the billboard company.
There are numerous dimensions and templates that can be used within the movie poster business but
The chances are that if you are reading this article, you want to make movie posters, perhaps for a school project, a friend, or you are bootstrapping your independent film and want to make your own. If that is the case, be sure to get the exact dimensions from your printer.
The dimensions and files provided in this post are what we use in a professional setting within TV and Movie Poster Design Agencies. These dimensions are very general but will get you started on your movie poster design adventure.
How to make movie posters?
If you are interested in movie poster design, then you are in the right place. Our website is dedicated to TV and Movie Poster design and offers numerous free articles and tutorials to help you tremendously.
Here are a few of the popular articles:
- This Is How To Sell Fan Art Legally & Illegally
- The 9 Worst Mistakes Movie Poster Artists & Designers Make
- 9 Tips To Make A Movie Poster Effective
You don’t need to go to an expensive University of Private school to get your foot in the door at a Movie Poster Design Agency. We wrote an article on the subject too.
What you do need is a movie poster design skillset. That’s why we are currently making an online class dedicated to the art of movie poster design and entertainment marketing.
It’s a work in progress but be sure to sign up for our newsletter so that you will be notified when classes become available. Another strong recommendation is to visit our YouTube channel, where you will find some amazing free movie poster tutorials.
Good luck out there!