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Movie Poster Colors Over Time

This spectrograph-like image records tens of thousands of movie posters over the course of a century, showing a steady shift towards posters that emphasize black, purple, and blue color tones. It’s a neat look at how the color tastes of an entire industry shift over time.

Vijay Pandurangan had a disagreement with a friend about whether or not movie posters were becoming darker/bluer over time. Rather than simply agree to disagree, he whipped up a piece of code that downloaded and analyzed thousands of movie posters proving that, in fact, there was a slow and steady shift towards darker and bluer posters.

Hit up the link below to see the interactive version (and larger!) version of his infographic as well as his explanation of the process and the source code.

Colours In Movie Posters Since 1914 [via Flowing Data]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/14/12

Comments (5)

  1. Smoke

    It’s something I’ve noticed before but never really thought much of it. As a graphic designer (well, trying to be) I find this really cool.

    Also, movies in general have gotten much more violent and dark as well through the decades. Might have something to do with it.

  2. Citrus Rain

    Looks like red & blue are more balanced now…

    Probably due to blue/orange contrasting that’s supposed to pop out at you… (Unless all of them do, then they pop alot less.)

  3. xilef

    Anybody knows why there is a gap at 1924?

  4. rangerevo8

    @xilef

    Quoted from source:
    ” … I would have done a bit better job on the analysis and gathering of data (1924 is messed up for instance). I’m going to do a follow up hopefully next week with a lot more data, better analysis, and a way to get the raw data if you want to do your own work on it … “

  5. William Valentine

    I am an avid collector of posters, many of which are from the movie industry. I found your research fascinating and provocative. I look forward to future posts. Great job!

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