James Verdesoto is a graphic designer who’s masterminded the visual marketing for countless movies, including iconic posters for “Pulp Fiction” (when he was creative director at Miramax), “Girl, Interrupted” and “Ocean’s Eleven.” Today, Vanity Fair puts him to great use with the release of “Movie Poster Expert Explains Color Schemes,” a fascinating YouTube video that actually does a lot more than decode the use of color.
Verdesoto deftly takes a walk through cinematic history and beyond, identifying visual elements (e.g., the “running figure with a gun” common to thrillers) that connect with everything from John Grisham paperback book covers from the ’90s to film noir to punk-rock flyer graphics. And when he does talk about the deployment of color, it’s especially eye-opening—like when he examines the use of a black-and-white-and-orange combination (as seen in posters for “Ghost Rider,” “Tokyo Drift,” “The Transporter” and more) and blue-and-orange (“The Bourne Identity,” “The Dark Knight,” “Star Wars,” “Avatar”).
It’s a mini master class in design-meets-marketing that comes in under 11 minutes. (It’s also a sequel of sorts to Vanity Fair’s “Every Marvel Movie Poster, Explained,” also starring Verdesoto and released in December.)