Photoshop Movie Poster Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

With this lesson plan, your students are going to use Photoshop to design a movie poster. They will practice using the principles of design for marketing, as well as communicating a tone and narrative with relatively simple designs.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Apply principles of design to the marketing of a film
  • Demonstrate proficiency with Photoshop as a design tool
  • Use relatively simple designs to convey mood, tone, and narrative


90-120 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.


Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.


  • Slideshow of movie posters, including a range of film genres and poster styles
  • Colored pencils and sketching paper
  • Photoshop


  • Begin class with a slideshow of movie posters. Try to include a range of movie genres and poster styles. As you go through the slideshow, discuss each image with students:
    • What stands out to you in this poster? What catches your eye, and how does it do so?
    • What sense of emotion do you get from this? How do colors, shadows, figures, and text play into this? What is the relationship between image and text, and how does that impact the poster? If you didn't know this movie, what genre of film would you guess this is?
    • What trends do you observe in multiple posters here? What seems to be the most important components of a movie poster? In which ways are these posters similar, and in which ways are they different? What accounts for these similarities and differences?

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