Back in 1998 in a movie theatre that doesn’t exist anymore, I looked at a movie poster. It’s the moment I realized there is such a thing as graphic design.
As a Batman fan—more so a DC Comics fan—the poster captivated me. I remember staring at the poster in the movie theater for a long time. It’s a great piece of design, but all I knew at the time was that it was exceptionally captivating.
The movie poster has the Batman logo, which looks sort of like an oil painting, but to this day I’m not sure how what medium it is. Also, all of the logo isn’t displayed on the poster—the logo is enlarged with the edges cut off on the left and right. And there’s a simple, understated date at the bottom of the poster informing all when the movie is going to be released.
Looking at the poster, I know this poster succeeded in communicating that a big movie event was coming and it wasn’t going to be a cheesy take on the Batman franchise. But I was perplexed as to why the movie poster had succeeded so well.
A series of questions grew in my head: Why was the logo enlarged? Why not show all of it? Why is the only text the release date for the movie? Why not add more colors? Why gold and not yellow as it’s commonly used in the comic books?
That’s when I had the simple revelation that this poster could have been designed a different way led me to realize that the packages and products we interact with in our society don’t have to be designed in the way they are presented.
Before this poster captivated me, I had assumed packaging and branding was a natural extent of a product’s origin. That the packaging, the logo, the movie poster and so on were shown this way because how they were supposed to look.
It’s a silly thought thinking about it now, but that’s what I had thought till then.
And this line of thinking led me to find out “graphic design” and that there were schools that taught this sort of thing.
It’s been many years since that moment and I’ve recently acquired a mint quality poster. The poster that started my path on graphic design and ultimately Web design is now framed and on display in my office.
It’s a reminder of that one moment many years ago that my world expanded and I realized what I wanted to do with my life.
What about you? When did you realize there was such a thing as graphic design?