From The Past To The Present: Poster Designers Of Malayalam Cinema And Their Revolutionary Ideas!

Dp foo7166320170110 9577 vnj20i By TheScriber  |  almost 4 years ago

How important are the posters of a film to make a lasting impact on the minds of the viewers? Without a second thought all the film-makers would right away acknowledge the huge importance of posters of a film.

When Alphonse Puthren decided to release his film Premam, he had the idea of skipping the normal pre-release procedures like the release of teaser, trailer etc. But, at the same time, he did release a smart looking and catchy poster of a film that grabbed the attention of the people.

Posters are the easiest and most-effective way to establish the presence of a film on the minds of the viewers. When one thinks about a film, the first thing that would come to his/her mind would be the poster and title designs of that film.

How Was It In The Past?

Even in the good olden days of Malayalam cinema, the posters and the notices had played due importance. Most of us would have seen the notice that was sent out by the makers of Vigathakumaran, regarding the release of the film.

Back then, most of the posters did follow a particular design. More importantly, in those days, designers didn’t have sophisticated tools or the help of computers, but still they did come out with some impeccable works.

Even the font used for the title were strikingly similar but the artistic works that the posters had made them attractive to the core. It has to be noted that the designers only had hand tools to work with and it would have taken days of hard work to come up with the posters. Even for the fonts, they had to draw and paint using their hands.

The Stalwarts

Gayathri Ashokan, P N Menon and Saboo Colonia, these are the big names as far poster designing is considered in the past. P N Menon was a notable director too and he had also carved a place for his own in poster designing.


Being an art designer, P N Menon had that skill to make posters look captive and attractive. He had created some amazing posters for films like Oomakkuyil, Kakkothikkavile Apooppan thaadikal, Aavanazhi apart from the posters for his own films.


Gayathri Asokan, who hails from Kottayam should also be given due credits for revolutionising poster designing. He was the one who introduced the airbrush concept in Malayalam film posters and thus breaking the stereotypes associated with poster designing. His prominent works include posters of films like Koodevide, My Dear Kuttichaathan, Ente Upasana, Kalapani, Thazhvaram etc. He has created posters for more than 700 films.


Many of us might be aware of the name Saboo Colonia. Many of the posters of Malayalam movies released in the 1990's and 1980's had the craft of Saboo Colonia in them. His major works include posters of films like Aparan, Season, In Harihar Nagar etc.

Apart from the above three, poster designer Eswara Rao, who hails from Andhra Pradesh was among the most prominent designers of South Indian film industry. He has worked for various languages and he did bring in some striking posters for Malayalam films of the black-and-white era.

The Interest Of The Directors

In fact, certain directors are inclined to certain designs. And we have seen some directors following the same pattern for the posters and titles of their films.

Take the case of films of director Joshiy. Posters of his films follow a typical pattern and more importantly the font style used for the title are strikingly similar. Font style used for New Delhi, Dhruvam, Kouravar, Pathram, Lelam, Runway, and Lion are almost similar. Similar is the case of Sathyan Anthikkad, who opts for simple font style for most of his film titles.

There have been instances when the directors themselves turned out to be poster designers for their films. For an instance, director Bharathan, who is an art director also, designed posters for his own films like Vaishali. In fact, the posters of the film did win wide acclaim.

Cut To The Present

With the change in time, there has been a change in the idea of poster designing. With the advent of computers and latest sophisticated designing tools, poster designing has altogether found a prominent presence, unlike in the past.

Well, the change was inevitable and it occurred in a step-by-step manner. But, film posters did get an all new look with the advent of new generation films, which had revolutionised the film industry.


In the year 2007, Amal Neerad came up with the film Big B, which still remains one of the stylish films ever made in Malayalam. The posters designed for those film were a class apart. They were slick, stylish and at the same time meaningful ones.

Similarly, in the year 2009, Aashiq Abu came up with the film Daddy Cool. The first look posters of the film did bring in the much required freshness giving a Bollywood style look to the posters. Posters of both the films were handled by Papaya media. Their poster designs have always been a class apart and up to some extent they must be credited for the change that we are now witnessing in poster designs.

In fact, in 2009, posters of the magnum opus Pazhassi Raja did capture the attention of the viewers. The posters designed by Jayaram Ramachandran had a hollywood feel associated with it and it completely suited the stature of the movie. Jayaram Ramachandran, later went on to design some remarkable posters for films like Best Actor, Ennu Ninte Moideen, Ezhamatha Varavu etc.

Posters Are More Or Less Like Teasers

Earlier, posters were mere introduction to a film about the cast and crew. But now, posters carry more information than before. Designers and film-makers now focus on sending the right information through the posters.

Take the case of the posters of the recent films like Kammatipaadam and Charlie. The designers made it a point to convey the genre and tone of the movie through the posters and the colouring patterns used in them.

Similarly, team Thought Station had done a remarkable work for the posters of the film Bangalore Days. The genre of the film, all the characters and the mood of the movie were revealed through a single poster of the film.

It also has to be noted that with the advent of Social media spaces, such posters have had due contribution to make towards the success of a film. Posters now reach a bigger section of audiences than ever before.

The best part is in the fact that now poster designers have an identity of their own. Most of the film-makers give full freedom to the designers to come out with their own fresh and innovative ideas.

Prominent Poster Designers And Designing Firms

Old Monks, Papaya media, Collins Leophil, Jissen Paul Designs, Jayaram Ramachandran, Thought Station, Rahman Design

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The article do not reflect the views of Filmelon. Filmelon does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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