Design Analysis

For my poster design analysis, I chose to look at the following promotional material for the third season of the television series Twin Peaks.


This poster appeals to me because it’s not immediately legible, or at least not easily discernible at a glance. (In class, Su intimated that this is one of the poster’s strong points: because it does not give itself over to immediate legibility, it demands passersby to dwell on it for a second or two, and read it over more consciously.)

Owing to the translucent superimposition of Special Agent Dale Cooper’s face, the distinction between foreground and background is unclear, indecisive. The poster’s depth, meanwhile, is similarly obscured, in this case owing to an ethereal, wafting fog effect.

Contrasted with the indefiniteness of both the character’s face and the environment, the red, bolded TWIN PEAKS practically screams to the fore, while itself being subtly shrouded, as the extreme corners of these two words are applied with a gradient opacity effect.

The grid reveals that this poster has been thoughtfully laid out (if not deliberately, then certainly by coincidence). The lowest panel’s ‘main event’ is the declaration of the show’s title, the middle panel convey’s Kyle MacLachlan’s face, while the uppermost panel evaporates all shapes into the hazy expanse, while also squeezing in a beguiling catchphrase.

The color palette is concentrated and restrained. With the exception of the bold title/text, the colors are different hues of green, yellow, black, and white.

In contrast with this, the poster’s text is a little all over the place. There are multiple font types, multiple font weights, and different sizes—resulting in six different kinds of text in all. While some of this is no doubt necessary—Showtime’s logo just happens to be text-based, the bolded MAY 21 has good reason for being so, while the words surrounding this date have good reason for being a lighter font weight (in order to allow the date to stand out by contrast)—the text on this poster seems like the unlike element.

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