UK Quads: Always Shit

Friday August 20th 2010

I know there’s probably a ‘fascinating’ story behind the origin of UK quad posters – those squat designs that get sent to UK cinemas in place of their vertical American cousins – but I don’t want to hear it. I’m sick and tired of seeing amazing new movie posters on US blogs, in the full knowledge that we’re destined to inherit a watered-down, badly-proportioned, phoned-in, lazily-basterdised version in six months or so.

The Scott Pilgrim quad above (right, obviously) is a good example of a translation that adds literally nothing but negative space, and in the process completely destroys the tight, energetic composition that made the original poster so good in the first place.

On a traditional vertical poster, even the most eager designer can only cover up about 15% of the image with the title. With horizontal quads there’s no such restriction, so titles are plastered across the entire width of the poster, making even a striking image like the one on this Watchmen poster, seem almost irrelevant by comparison.

Not to mention that cropping the tops of the buildings out makes the above image about 100 times less dramatic.

Even when the quad contains more of the original image that the US poster, as with this teaser for Quantum of Solace, the former still looks like a total mess. Where the height of the American poster complements the image perfectly, the quad isn’t even wide enough to feel ‘cinematic’. It’s practically a square.

Basically, it matters to me what shoes the A-Team are wearing.