Tag Archives: “Z” graphic design

Movie Posters, Graphic Design, and the Art of the ‘Z’

One of the first things that I learned about graphic design is the power of the “Z”. Allow me to explain. Typically, readers’ eyes will gravitate to the top left of something that they’re reading. The natural flow for them is to go from left to right. Then their eyes typically go diagonally through the center, down to the bottom left of the piece, and then left to right again. And graphic designers will exploit these natural reading habits by placing calls to action or strong visual elements in the path of these steps. Here’s an illustration of how this works, using an advertisement I found at tsunamimarketing.com. I’ve placed a bright red path to show the ‘Z’:


Once you see the ‘Z’, you’ll never miss it. Designers don’t always use it (there are tons of ways to build effective graphic design), and sometimes the ‘Z’ goes backwards. But make no mistake- there are Z’s all over the place in a lot of graphic design. Except for web, which is an ‘F’… but let’s not get sidetracked here. Why do I bring all of this up, you ask? Movie posters. You can’t miss the Z’s in movie posters. And thanks to Ruth at Flix Chatter, who recently wrote about movie posters and design, I’ve been inspired to show you a bunch of movie poster Z’s. Some examples (and I’ve placed the bright red ‘Z’ on top of these):

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