MOVIE POSTER GEOGRAPHY : A BRIEF TOUR OF THE WORLD'S POSTER SIZES AND SPECIFICITIES
While the list below is very far from exhaustive as it limits itself to just a mere 14 countries, it still represents the main centers of both the art of movie making and poster design around the world and should therefore encompass the vast majority of the most looked after formats.
Each country has its own culture and appreciation for art and music and movie posters reflected that paramount specificity.
The use of the past tense is hereby included as sadly the current era shows that nearly every poster is being photoshopped to death, adding the main actors and a generic typeface and look eerily similar whether you travel to Los Angeles, Paris, Berlin, London or Sydney.
It was the pride of the movie studios back then to allow each market to locally design their own visual campaigns either using the promotional and marketing material created in Burbank, Pinewood, Cinecitta, Boulogne sur Seine or by every other major studios.
The results showed vast differences with posters of the same movie.
Some using photomontages, some slightly altered just retouching the original artwork and then others just creating brand new interpretations of the movie scenes, figuratively or abstractly, creating long lasting and for the most part iconic imagery resonating in each country’s subconsciounsness.
You can also find more information by clicking on the link below as LAMP : learnaboutmovieposters.com is the biggest database in the world devoted to the knowledge of movie art and posters. ILLUSTRACTION Gallery is a proud sponsor of LAMP and highly praise the site
*LB: Linen-Backed poster (see below for details)
* Mounted poster: poster has already been mounted (glued) on foam board and ready to be framed. we will precise all conditions. We do however recommend that when mounted the posters are not glued but dry-mounted
* R : Rerelease/Reissue . Later reissue of a movie or a concert poster. Original and most often with new artwork
Example : R 1962 (1937) : Movie was rereleased in 1962 (originally released in 1937)
* 1967 (1965) : Poster first year of issue in a country (original release date in the country of origin)
* name of poster (French): When we have several posters of the same title, we differentiate them by giving the nationality in the title to avoid confusion
OP-1 : Original first Print
RP-2/3 : Original second or third Reprint
OPC : Original Poster Card / Handbill
Music posters Concert Series
BG : Bill Graham Fillmore, San Francisco (1965-1971)
BGP : Bill Graham Presents – Various US venues (1986 – 2011)
FD : Family Dog – Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco (1965-1969)
FE : Fillmore East – New York City (1968-1971)
NR : Neon Rose Series – The Matrix, San Francisco (1967-1968)
RG : Russ Gibbs – Detroit Grande Ballroom series (1966-1969)
POSTER NATIONALITIES AND SIZES
Posters were issued folded
* 1 sheet: 29" x 43" [75 x 110 cm]
* One sheet: 27" x 40" [71 x 102 cm]. Vertical.
Used to be issued folded. now are rolled
* Daybill: 13" x 30" [33 x 76 cm]. Vertical.
Issued originally folded in three
The smallest posters but what they lack in size, they usually pack up in colors and bold typefaces, accommodating the need to include titles in both Flemish and French languages (as well as English)
Landscape or Vertical
Most posters were originally folded and many have a tax stamp (required).
* One Sheet : 14" x 22" [36 x 56 cm] or 19" x 25" [50 x 64 cm] approx.
Like Poland and East Germany, former Czechoslovakia didn't have access to the US movies' publicity and promotional tools and had to resort to pure creativity and very elaborate art to sum up the movie in just an image. Very rare due to small distribution and highly sought after
* A1: 23" x 33" [59 x 84 cm]
* A2: 12" x 17" [30 x 43 cm]
* One sheet: 24 1/4" x 33 1/4" [62 x 84 cm]
French love for all things related to art is an understatement hence no surprise that the standard poster size (Grande affiche) is the largest in the world. All posters are issued folded
Highly sought after for the sheer size and distinctive art created by among the world's leading movie poster designers.
* Grande (Large): 47" x 63" [120 x 160 cm]. Vertical.
Standard French movie poster. Folded
* Moyenne (Medium): 23.5" x 31.5" [60 x 80 cm].
Like the German A1s or the Japanese B2s, those are very easy to frame
* Petite (Small): 16" x 23.5" [40 x 60 cm] approx. Folded
* Pantalon (Door Panel): 23" x 60" [58 x 163 cm]. Vertical. Folded
GERMANY / EAST GERMANY (DDR)
The vast majority of posters were folded. Unfolded posters are very rare and therefore more expensive and in demand.
German art is usually very different from the original artwork and the movie poster art counts its best heroes from the Rheinland.
East German posters: see Czech and Poland entry.
* A00: 46" x 66" [118 x 240 cm]. Very rare size.
* A0: 33" x 46" [84 x 118 cm]. Vertical (or Horizontal)
Very rare size. usually rolled but many were folded.
* A1: 23.3" x 33.5" [59 x 85 cm]. Vertical (mainly).
Standard German poster size for both movies and concerts.
* A2: 16.5" x 23" [42 x 59 cm]
* A3: 12" x 19" [30 x 47 cm]
Like their French neighbors, Italians also put the Art first in very large formats with many of the original art painted.
* Quadri Fogli (4F - 4 sheet. Poster is in two separate parts that overlap): 55" x 78" [140 x 200 cm]
* Due Fogli (2F 2 sheet): 39" x 55" [100 x 140 cm]. Standard Italian poster size. Issued folded.
* Soggettone (1F - Un Foglio = One sheet): 27" x 39" [68 x 100 cm]. Vertical or Horizontal. Usually folded in the middle.
* Fotobusta (oversize Lobby card): Approx. 18" x 26" [48 x 67 cm]. Vertical or Horizontal.
Glossy paper. Originally shipped as a set of between 6 and up to 12 different images, folded in the middle
* Locandina (insert): 13" x 27" [33 x 60 cm] - Vertical.
Similar to US Insert but on thinner paper stock
Considered by many collectors (including yours truly) to be the best designed posters in the world, Japan posters (both music and movie) combine the art of "photomontage" and very bold typefaces.
Up until the early 1980's, most posters printed on very thin paper were usually sent very lightly folded in three. However and as with most things Japanese, the state of conservation is the best in the world.
* B0: 40" x 58" [72 x 148 cm]
* STB - Tatekan (2 panel): 20" x 58" [51 x 148 cm]. Poster is divided in 2 separate parts. Vertical
* B1: 28 1/2" x 40 1/2" [72 x 103 cm]. Vertical or Horizontal
* B2: 20" x 28.5" [51 x 72 cm]. Vertical. Standard Japan poster size
* B3 - Nakazuri or « Speed »: 14" x 20" [36 x 51 cm]. Vertical.
2 sided poster. On the verso were printed all the press and facts related to the movie
* B4 (Insert): 10" x 29" [25 x 74 cm]. Vertical
* B5 - Chirashi (flyer): 7" x 10" [18 x 25 cm]
See Czech entry
* A1: 23x33; measures 22 3/4" x 33" [58 x 84 cm]
* 1 sheet: 27" x 39" [70 x 100 cm]
Most posters were issued folded
* Quad: 30" x 40" [76 x 102 cm]. Horizontal format.
comes on both paper and cardboard stock. Standard UK poster size
* One Sheet: 27" x 40" [69 x 102 cm]. Vertical.
Used to be folded. Printed in the UK and the Commonwealth (Canada, India...)
* Double Crown: 20" x 30" [51 x 76 cm]
* Half Sheet: 20" x 28" [51 x 71 cm]. Horizontal format
All 1 sheet posters were issued folded until the early 1980's when they were shipped rolled
* 3 Sheet: 41" x 81" [104 x 206 cm]. Vertical.
Folded. Usually a different image was used for this format than the standard 1 Sheet
* 40 x 60: 40" x 60" [102 x 153 cm] . Vertical.
Printed on heavy card stock. shipped rolled
* 30 x 40: 30" x 40". [76 x 102 cm]. Vertical.
Printed on heavy card stock. Shipped rolled but many were folded by theaters
* One Sheet:
- 27" x 41" [69 x 104 cm] (until 1983). Vertical (folded)
- 27" x 40" [ 69 x 102 cm] (after 1983). Vertical (rolled) .
Standard US poster size.
* Half Sheet: 22" x 28" [56 x 71 cm]. Horizontal.
A rarer format printed on cardboard stock. Many were shipped folded to the movie theaters. The Image is usually different from the 1sheet and easy to frame which makes it a very popular format to purchase/collect.
* Insert: 14" x 36" [36 x 92 cm]. Vertical.
Printed on cardboard stock. Many were issued folded by the movie theaters prior to 1960
* Window Card: 14" x 22" [36 x 56 cm]. Vertical.
Printed on cardboard stock. Have a blank strip at top to allow theaters’ owners to write viewing times
* Lobby Cards: 11" x 14" [28 x 36 cm]. Horizontal.
Usually released as a set of 8 including one "title card" and 7 stills from the movie
Unlike all their Eastern European neighbors, (former) Yugoslavia had a more open policy towards the West. Therefore the distributors had access to all the movie publicity and promotional material. Highly sought after as they used very different artwork
All posters were issued folded in half
* 1 sheet: 19 1/2" x 27 1/4" [50 x 70 cm]. Vertical.
CONDITION / LINEN-BACKING & FRAMING
Grading is always subjective and will vary considerably by the personal standards but we thrive in giving a very hard look at each poster we have and assessing its condition thoroughly.
The main focus is on the quality of the main image so that it looks great especially when framed.
The following definitions should help you assess the condition of the posters listed. I will also try to show real pictures of the poster as much as possible
In case a stock picture is used, I will also list all defects.
* MINT : Unused and unfolded poster like new off the printing press. Hardly been touched
* NEAR MINT : Poster is brand new with no signs of defects and with all its shine and gloss intact. May have been folded. Very minimal wear
* VERY FINE : Unrestored poster which may have small pinholes, small tears and separations, light fading
* FINE / VERY FINE : An unrestored poster that displays signs of use. May include light edge or fold wear, slight fold separations, very minor paper loss, pinholes, or unobtrusive stains
* FINE : Used poster in overall excellent shape but with minor signs of wear. Possible pinholes and light fading. Possible separations at crossfolds along the lines but with main image intact
* VERY GOOD : The average movie poster. May have several pinholes, tears, fading, tape marks, border stains or stains and/or minor paper loss may occur. Presentable when framed
* GOOD : Heavy wear. Item most likely show heavy fading and/or significant paper loss
* FAIR : Below average. Paper missing or mangled. Tears
* POOR : We will not offer any poster in this condition as the paper is usually heavily torn or ripped with much of the picture damaged or missing
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FOLDS AND LINEN-BACKING
Rule #1: FOLDS LINES ARE NOT FLAWS
This is important for the non cognoscenti among you esteemed readers and clients
Folds are an integral part of most of the posters (mainly movies) being sold on this site.
Up until 1983 and for various reasons (economic, ease of use, cost of shipping, etc.), most posters were indeed mechanically folded at the printing plants and shipped as such to the movie theaters who ordered them
The posters were then displayed in the theaters' windows. After the releases, they were either discarded or resent to the various National Screen Services organizations which back then had the near monopoly of print and distribution on behalf of the studios.
The number of posters still existing is therefore limited and their rarity as well as their condition greatly influence their price.
We have listed all the details about the various sizes and physical particularities of the posters according to their country nationality and will do our utmost best to mention whether they were originally rolled or folded
That condition will also impact on how the posters will be shipped: rolled in a tube and/or folded in a flat cardboard-backed envelope (please read shipping information for more details)
Rule#2: FOLDS CAN BE REMOVED : THE LINEN -BACKING PROCESS
Linen-Backing is a conservation method used to mount and preserve vintage posters so they can be displayed or framed without compromising value.
Damaged posters are stabilized through linen backing and restoration to protect the poster from further damage. The poster is affixed to archival paper which is then affixed to the linen (cloth) or paper backing. Linen backing holds the poster flat and smooth allowing it to be easily handled, stored or framed. The process is archival and reversible. The linen-backed posters are then shipped rolled in a tube while the paper-backed ones are shipped flat as the paper is stiff.
While we are not restorers, we will offer the option of linen backing.
This process comes at an additional price - usually starting at $100 and rapidly going up - pending on each poster’s distinctive size and original condition. Quotes will be given accordingly.
Should you wish to deal with this process directly, we will be happy to direct you to the best professionals on the East Coast.
Due to the very high demand of this process and the short availability of those experts, Please count an additional 3 to 4 weeks (i.e a month) on top of normal shipping time to obtain the posters after linen-backing.
We do not at this stage offer framing services but are happy to provide you with the names of reputable companies specializing in dealing with vintage posters