Film Poster Project: The Shining

Module: Ideas Generation in Art and Design.

To design a poster based on the film titled The Shining.

The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, and Scatman Crothers. The film is based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel The Shining.In the film, Jack Torrance, a writer and recovering alcoholic, takes a job as an off-season caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel. His young son possesses psychic abilities and is able to see things from the past and future, such as the ghosts who inhabit the hotel. Some time after settling in, the family is trapped in the hotel by a snowstorm and Jack gradually becomes influenced by a supernatural presence, descends into madness, and ultimately attempts to murder his wife and son.

Here are some samples of posters done by other designers:


A poster designed by Saul Bass. Minimal colors and block letters


A poster designed by Tom Whalen shows the Overlook Hotel, snowstorm and corpses in the ground.


Designed by Matthew Griffen shows Jack carrying an axe in a snowstorm (scene from the movie) Using only achromatic colors.


Joshua Budich designed an illustrated poster. It shows all the characters, using red and achromatic colors.

Here are samples of minimalist posters:

Art prints by Misery using the main items in film, key from room 237 and typewriter.

Kristjan Lyngmo using the wallpaper pattern from the 70’s that’s used in the set as background, axe that was used to kill the twins.

Designed by Chad Trutt using a layout of the maze from the movie.

The Shining Poster by RustyCharles

Poster by Rusty Charles. Illustration of the main character, Jack.

More illustrated posters by a very inspiring Australian artist named Ken Taylor

Link to his page:

Samples of his work:

drive newfinalvsuckerpunch

Samples of posters from the book: The Independent Movie Poster Book, by Spencer Drate, Judith Salavetz and Dave Kehr.

From the collection of the Posteritati Gallery. Book from college library.


The idea was to draw Danny on his bike with the text ‘The Shining’ as shadows behind him.


Stark black and white contrast.The idea was to illustrate Jack’s menacing face white either  white or red background.


The idea is to place axe on top box, Jack’s eyes on second box and Danny in last box along with the text.


Using black as background, and focus on either Jack or Danny’s face


Ideas for text placement.


Idea was to use Jack’s lower torso dragging an axe with red background.

Here are Images of the cast from the film:

Danny Torrance

danny_big download (1)


download images jack

Wendy – Wife

Shelley Duvall The Shining kubrick

Patterns/wallpaper used in the set


The Grady Twins.


Mind Map in a sketchbook

Scan_20151007 (3)

Nouns and verbs that described the film:

  • murder
  • haunting
  • dread
  • chilling
  • dark
  • cabin fever
  • menacing
  • isolation
  • snow storm
  • horror
  • madness
  • telepathic ‘shining’
  • fear
  • eerie
  • helplessness

Few sketches in notebook:


Links to sites visited:

A sample of a poster done using the set of the film: Poster by Federico Babina

Archiset illustrated film sets
by Federico Babina


Posters/Ideas I’ve done on Adobe Photoshop:

the shining1

Using red to symbolize blood. Fonts that looks like it was written with an axe/knife. Main characters, Danny the son, lighter shade to show innocence, and his ‘shining’ ability. Jack the father in the background looking menacing.

the shining 2

A poster with the main characters. Another idea is to have the good guys on one side and the bad guys on the other.

the shining 3

Using old typewriter font as used in the film.


Using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to create a black and white poster.


The poster above was a mistake with the placing of paper in the printer, so I created a pattern, outlines of all the characters overlapping each other.


Using axe marks as text and maze that was in the film as the background.


Using the old typewriter font as background.


Illustration of the cast done with pencils.


Danny on his tricycle and the text as his shadow.


The poster above is too busy, too many distractions with the wallpaper pattern that was used in the film. The text does not stand out.

Samples of text that was used for horror films:

1980s horror movie poster logos and typography.

More research:

A DVD I borrowed from the Raheny library shows a documentary exploring the numerous hidden meanings discovered within the movie.

  1. Color red to symbolize the Nazis.
  2. Typewriter used was a German product with an eagle emblem (Nazis) and eagle sculptures as props in the set.
  3. American Indian art and sculptures used in the set.  It is to symbolize the murder of Native Americans – and the consequences of that murder.
  4. More details on this website:

Here is a link to the trailer:

A website that compiles all of the movie posters:

Samples of typography that suits the movie:


More samples of poster ideas: Negative space and image in the middle.


An old vintage poster, black and white:


Other Attempts:


Another poster I tried with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Drawn with pencils. Text using Mom’s Old typewriter font to match the typewriter that was used in the film. Image of Jack Nicholson, menacing and rest of the cast fitted in.


This poster has a pool of blood as the background with images of the cast drawn with pencils. Think the blood background is too pixellated.

Tried placing the illustration on stained glass. Characters are lost.


Scaled Jack’s head down to give more negative space. Now to figure out the text to go with it.


Tried half of his face and the three characters on his forehead, to show they were on his mind, and that he was out to kill them. Text using impact with slashes on it.

half face

Font ideas.

To use axe marks to make the text:

Sketch done on paper with pencil:


Hand drawn text applied to illustrations to make a poster:

half face2

An option with just Jack upper head with the other characters he’s out to kill on his mind.

the shining15

The word ‘The’ in black disappears in the background.

White Text for ‘The’ stands out more.

the shining152

More characters added on Jack’s face.


Another option to place illustrations of all the cast in a frame.


With red background to symbolize blood: Feedback from Lecturer, not scary enough!


Based on feedback, Hopefully, the final poster using illustrations, hand drawn text and Impact font for clearer info with black border. Different options and placements of text:



Image/illustrations stretched to appear menacing, distorted. PrintNot scary enough!

Samples of horror film posters:


Few more options:



Option 1:

Axe that was used in the film, main cast on axe head, hand drawn text:


Outline linocut style illustration of Jack looking crazy, with red eyes and hand drawn text


Flipped the background, light to dark with black outlines of Jack’s face.


I’ve decided to go with this layout with the catchphrase Cabin Fever, Jack?

Outline of Jack’s grimacing face, done on Illustrator like Linocut style.

Gradient background, lighter bottom half to make the text clearer.


Feedback from lecturer, to make Jack smaller, emphasize on text.


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