The color red can convey a lot of different messages depending on the context, but no matter what, it’s always a surefire choice for catching people’s attention. This week, both past gold-winning poster entries and new entries from our Poster 2024 competition took this to heart, using red to turn some heads.
“The Health Poster Project” (above, left) is a new entry from our 2024 Poster Annual competition and serves as a perfect example of red’s eye-catching qualities. Created by designer Viktor Koen from design firm Attic Child Press, Inc., this poster was created to promote the Health Poster Project exhibition, a selection of 24 posters from the BFA Illustration program, the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay program, and the 2022 Summer Illustration Residency at the School of Visual Arts’ Gramercy Gallery. The poster is a laconic yet engaging visual, punctuating the dualities of medicine with the use of an apple that recalls the classic “an apple a day” saying. Held in a latex-gloved hand, the piece of fruit is presented as either a remedy or poison, and its bright red coloration immediately draws the viewer’s attention against the dull greens, blues, and browns of the background.
Our next poster, “Presence Film Poster” (above, right), is a gold winner from our 2023 Poster Annual. Commissioned by movie director Christian Schultz and created by designer Jeff Hunt, this poster was designed to promote the 2022 horror film Presence while telegraphing the movie’s mood and tone. Hunt wanted to evoke the feeling of dread that persists throughout the film, which tells the story of two young business partners who are invited to a week-long yachting voyage with a potential investor. The trip quickly turns nightmarish when it’s revealed that one business partner, Jennifer, may have unknowingly brought something evil on board. The final manipulated image is frightening, consisting of bright red stills from the film combined with a stark, unfussy typographic approach that creates a bold, impactful singular poster that maintains an air of ambiguity regarding the plot, yet makes the viewer intrigued and uneasy regarding the film’s possible outcome.
Our third poster is another gold winner from our 2023 Poster Annual, titled “Birth & Death” (above, left). This piece was a self-initiated project from designer Carmit Makler Haller to help promote her studio, Carmit Design Studio. The poster plays with the idea that birth and death are connected, taking inspiration from a quote by psychologist Eric Fromm: “To live is to be born every minute. Death occurs when birth stops.” To showcase this cycle, Haller used a string-like white line going through the letters “H”, “B”, “R”, and “D” to represent the infinite cycle from birth to death and vice versa. The use of red text on a black background also gives the poster an air of grave seriousness and finality, making the viewer pay attention to this fundamental fact of life.
Going back to the 2024 Poster Annual competition, the last featured poster is “The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov” (above, right), which was made as a design exercise by designer Olga Severina from design firm PosterTerritory, and is meant to promote the play of the same name. Like the title suggests, the play looks at the lives of three sisters – Olga, Masha, and Irina – and the joy and suffering they face dealing with love, life, and their individual problems. Three scattered, cluttered chairs pay homage to the play’s sisters and hint at the turmoil the women will undergo during the performance. While our other three posters have showcased the power of red, this poster shows how other colors, in this case, blue, can be used with equal effectiveness. The use of blue gives the poster a moody vibe, which fits this more mature and somber play.
You can check out the full collection of our Poster Annual 2023 winners here. To enter our 2024 Poster Annual Awards competition, click here.