We’re in a unique world where advertisers covet the ability to catch the eye, and graphic designers behind MMA promotional posters have a myriad of principles to account for when creating something that sells the viewer on why they want to view your fight.
MMAJunkie solicited Marco Bucci, a professional artist, and illustrator who ranked some of the best and worst poster designs released by the UFC in 2017. Here are some notable excerpts, but be sure to check out the rest of their ratings here.
The lack of color and bland facial expressions don’t do a lot to catch the eye or drive excitement in this poster. Both fighters might be trying for a tough, steeled look, but subdued colors communicate the opposite, leaving the viewer open to interpret what almost looks like a mugshot of each fighter.
There’s such a thing as too much yellow, and too little information emphasized. It takes a bit of searching for these additional details, and all the while your viewer is wondering if Rockhold vs. Branch is a new action TV series or hot dog eating competition. Bottom Line: Don’t hide supporting details and information along the edges, especially without color.
This one caused a bit of negative feedback from fans who thought the poster disrespected the defending Cormier by portraying him as smaller that Johnson. However, anyone familiar with these two fighters and their differing styles might appreciate the contrast. The overlay also gives an impression that Johnson is a looming threat to Cormier. Great, thoughtful design and color use all around.
The mirrored horizon effect offers a balanced, all-around symmetry, and creates a bit of interest by not offering a “true” reflection. Because half the poster is upside down, the eyes spend more time dwelling on the properly oriented logos and words. Designs like this are how you keep viewers looking at your poster for more than a few seconds or double take.
Upward camera angles make this fight seem larger than life, as all sequels should. The use of primary colors in the background pits the contrasting red and blue against each other, with each fighter in their own corner of color. It’s as if you’re about to witness a clash between giants, and you’ve got the front row seat to it all. Another great poster example.
A picture truly is worth a thousand words, so make every one count. It also stresses the importance of not skimping on poster design. Not only is it the most viewed picture of your fight beforehand, it’s also what fans are going to scrutinize for how their fighter is represented. When done right an effective poster is the first thing the fans see of your fight, but it certainly won’t the last.