So you’ve made your film. You’ve scraped together the budget. It’s taken blood, sweat and tears. You’ve taken your time on the script. Pulled an amazing team together. You’ve put crazy hours into your shoot days. You’ve struggled through post. And finally, finally, the story that has been living in your head is a reality – ready to wow audiences at festivals, by streaming or on DVD. Or even with that elusive cinema release.

You’ve worked hard. You’ve done so well. But now you need to sell your film. Perhaps literally, or perhaps in the sense that you need people to pick your film out of thousands of others to watch or to programme. The question is ‘How?’

But there’s no budget!

‘I can’t afford that’ is a common response from indie filmmakers looking for a professionally designed poster. It often hasn’t been budgeted for and can be easy to overlook. But it’s a crucial consideration that can have as much impact on your film as anything else.

A picture is worth a thousand words they say. It’s a cliché but oh so true in a visual medium like film. What makes us choose one film over another? At the cinema, it can be star names, franchise appeal or the promise of groundbreaking visual effects. Your average indie filmmaker has none of these. But you do have the best thing of all – story. And the single best way to sell your story is – yes, the poster.

Invest in yourself

As a graphic designer, one comment I hear a lot is ‘but my mate/my mum/a student/someone on (delete as appropriate) has said they can do it cheaper’. I’ve also found myself having to pick up the pieces after a disastrous ‘budget’ poster project has gone awry on more than one occasion. Now I can’t speak for everyone – but in my experience, a professional and experienced poster designer will never be the cheapest option.

When I design a poster, I’m bringing a lot more than just my Photoshop skills to the table. I’ve got a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration and over ten years experience in what looks good, sells well and engages an audience. I don’t just rely on previous training either. Design, like cinema, is changing all the time – and I regularly take courses to expand and maintain my skillset. Recently this has included life drawing, photo compositing and 3D design. I know how to use bells and whistles in my work. I also know when not to (sometimes simple is best) – something that is generally learnt over time.

First impressions count

But yeah, it is absolutely possible to get a cheaper poster design. But think about it: how do you respond to design in everyday life? How many times have you not placed an order on a website because it’s badly designed and looks a bit ‘dodgy’? Or not picked up a book because the cover makes the story look rubbish? It’s no different to potential audience member or festival programmer looking at your poster. You only get one chance to make a first impression and you want it to be a good one!

A great poster communicates a lot about your film – the genre, the story, the tone. It also communicates a lot about you as a filmmaker – are you serious about your craft? What is the impression you want to make in the long term?

Take the leap

Don’t fall at the last hurdle and cut corners with poster design. Bet on yourself and your film by hiring a professional. And if it’s me, I’d be delighted to join you on that journey.

If there’s a poster design project you’d like to discuss developing, feel free to drop me a line at