Student Poster Competition

Spring semester 2020, Special Collections and Museums, part of the University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press, hosted a movie poster competition inspired by the work of Cuban artists in the exhibition Black with a Drop of Red: Contemporary Cuban Posters. The exhibition was on view at the Mechanical Hall Gallery from February 11 – March 11, 2020.

A total of fifty students submitted poster designs to the competition. Students chose a movie from a list of twenty international movie titles. Their poster designs were submitted digitally along with an Artist’s Statement that described their design and explained how it related to the movie chosen.

Many of the students who submitted posters were enrolled in classes in the Art & Design Department. The submissions were thoughtful and creative, impressing the panel of judges. The winners of the competition are shared here.


First Place:  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  by Luke Wagner

Second Place:  Persepolis by Olivia Marie Jaeger

Third Place:  The Lives of Others by Makayla Musgrove

Poster for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, by Luke Wagner

Artist’s Statement – Luke Wagner, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

A love story blended with precision and violence, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon proves that the prettiest flower often has the sharpest thorns. Set in 18th-century China, the story follows a warrior and his love interest as they seek to find his sword stolen by the daughter of a powerful governor. The title is a literal translation of a Chinese idiom describing a place or situation full of unnoticed masters. This is representative of both the film’s characters and cast; the female leads steal the show through their wit and sword-fighting capabilities. For this reason, I chose to combine the image of a Monarch and a Tiger. The Monarch is representative of the final stage of its life cycle, reaching its utmost beauty, one might say mastery of its senses. The Monarch is contrasted by the Tiger representing one’s cunningness and agility. This symbolism is placed as the hilt of a sword as these qualities can be gripped and used to deadly effects, portrayed in the film by the governor’s daughter. Additionally, the teal design of the sword hilt placed on top of the monarch is representative of the headdress worn by the governor’s daughter. The grunge background is a model of the violence and its movement, however, it is subdued as the action is only the accompaniment of the love story. This is the reasoning behind the straight-centered simplicity of the composition. In conclusion, the entirety of the poster symbolizes the characteristics of a thief whose identity and skill surprised everyone.

Poster for Persepolis, by Olivia Marie Jaeger

Artist’s Statement – Olivia Marie Jaeger, Persepolis

For my movie poster for Persepolis, I wanted to express the graphic nature of the film and novel. I chose the image of Marjane wearing her jean jacket and hijab as the basis for the poster because I believe this is a clear representation of her two present realities: both forms of rebellion. The hijab refers to the new dress code after Iran’s cultural revolution, however, it is something still personal, so I made it out of the flowers associated with her grandmother and seen throughout the film. The jacket is her rebellion against the changing order. In the color images of Marjane she is seen in shades of red making it a color I associated with her, as well as a symbol for the bloodshed seen throughout the change of regime. A focal point of the jacket in both the graphic novel and the film is the button. It is the visual symbol of her self-expression in a time when such an action was seen as going against the social order, hence the title taking such an important position. I did not want to include the physical features of Marjane even though it is her story because a main idea of the film is not knowing oneself. The director’s acknowledgements are placed at the bottom of the poster in white similar to the subtitles by which I experienced the film.

Poster for The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen), by Makayla Musgrove

Artist’s Statement – Makayla Musgrove, The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen)

For this poster I wanted to focus on the key elements on the film The Lives of Others, one of which is the red fingerprint left behind that reveals that the officer doing surveillance essentially let the main protagonist go. Using ink, I coated my fingers and made my own fingerprints. I then scanned them into the computer. Out of the fingerprints that I did, I chose one with texture and variety in the opacity of the ink, but still allowed the swirls of the fingerprint to show. The fingerprint image was then printed red, like the one from the movie. To show the surveillance element of the movie, I found an image of headphones similar to the ones used in the movie. I made the fingerprint wearing the headphones in my poster because that fingerprint is the officer’s identity to his surveillance victim. I mimicked the font to be like a typewriter as an homage to its importance in the film. I made the text inconsistent, as a real typewriter would be. Finally I made the background a worn paper texture, to show that it is a period piece.