Ready to start making movie posters? Whether you are creating designs and artwork for a movie studio or your school project, and you will need to get them printed, these are the pixels and dimensions you would use.
If you want a proper movie poster file, fire up Photoshop create a template with the pixel dimensions of 8,100-pixel width by 12,000-pixel height at 300 pixels per inch with a vertical orientation. This file size is ready for print when your design is finished.
If you prefer to create your files using inches, you can use 27 inches width by 40 inches height. Either way, Photoshop will create the template all the same with either form of measurement.
Poster File Size Challenges
Now, if you are going to start creating movie poster artwork in an 8,100 x 12,000-pixel file with a PPI of 300, you better have a high-speed computer with a ton of RAM. The file size and resolution with these specs will surely slow it down and make Photoshop work really hard.
How the Poster Industry Works & Things You Need to Know!
When working for a movie poster agency, otherwise known as entertainment marketing, we must come up with numerous designs per day.
In a simple explanation, the agency collects numerous designs from its designers and art directors and organizes them accordingly into a pitch deck.
The pitch deck contains the selected “comps” (comps are the individual movie poster designs) and is presented to the movie studio or client.
Since these designs are not guaranteed to go to print, they don’t need to be extra large and “finished.” Finished means they have proper resolution, sizing, and all things design and typography have been signed off.
Comp Size Files
What this all means is that the art directors and designers can use smaller file sizes in order to speed things up both on their computers and within the agency.
Sometimes layered Photoshop files need to be sent to other designers for fixing or revisions, and if all the file sizes were massive, it would take forever to send to each other.
Plus, there are server space issues where designs are stored, and the larger the files, the more server space would be needed.
Don’t be the massive file size person…they get no love from their creative directors aka bosses!
So, what we usually do, and all agencies are a little different, is to create “comp” size templates to design on. This saves hefty amounts of time and headaches.
A standard Movie Poster One Sheet design, otherwise known as comp file, is usually 4050 pixels wide by 6000 pixels high at 150 PPI.
This allows creating multiple designs per day faster and with minimal loading issues onto servers and sending back and forth between colleagues.
Generally speaking, comp overall file sizes are usually less than a gigabyte. Still, there are always times when you go over a Gig, especially when working with a lot of photography, tons of layers, and creative brushwork.
There is a whole other way in which designers try to keep their files smaller and still editable, but that will be in another post. That’s a whole lesson on its own.
And speaking of lessons you may want to check out these informative poster design articles:
Like I was saying above, a “finish” poster design is one that has been decided on by the client or movie studio. This file needs to be perfect and at high resolutions for print.
What happens is a “finisher” takes the smaller comp file created by the art director and blows up the size and resolution to prepare for printing.
Of course, there are other requirements that the finisher needs to handle, but to keep it simple, they are the final prepper of the movie poster.
These files get very large, and I’ve seen files larger than 80 Gigs. I’m sure finishers have even worked on larger! On a side note, finishers usually have high-speed computers.
Poster and Marketing Template Varieties
The standard Movie Poster One Sheet isn’t the only poster size used in the entertainment marketing world. We have other sizes for Wild Posts, Billboards, Bus Shelters, and pretty much anything you have seen driving around.
Don’t forget, digital! There are numerous digital templates and requirements for poster images you see online while checking out Netflix, Apple TV, Disney Plus, or anything else internet and streaming related. The streaming world is a whole other marketing beast.
I’ll create a post in the near future with other marketing dimensions for moth print and digital.
The Movie Poster Business…Ready?
Are you looking to get into the movie poster design industry and not sure where to start? I’d highly suggest checking out our online classes, which are specific to all things entertainment marketing and movie poster design.
Our classes are only taught by actual designers, illustrators, art directors, and creative directors in this industry. You are not getting advice and lessons from a professor that has never stepped foot in a movie poster shop.
The only challenge is that these classes are being developed right now, so what I suggest is for you to sign up for the newsletter to be notified when classes are available. Classes will be for total design novices up to expert designers.
What about inspiration? Check out our Fan Art Movie Poster Gallery, where some of our teachers and contributors have showcased their work.