Movie Poster Blog


British Quad vs. US 1 sheets

For roughly the same price, you can acquire most of your favorite movie poster titles in a style unfamiliar to most North Americans. The British Quad style has been around for a long time and isn't very popular on this side of the Atlantic. We, here in the west, seem to determine status by size, and the bigger the better. We size up things by moving our eyes from top to bottom and then back up again, width seems to play no part in the examination phase. The British Quad however features for the most part, the same image as the US 1 sheets, but just stretched out on a horizontal print.

I personally prefer the British Quad to the US 1 sheet for a few reasons. The B.Q. is bigger in overall area, being 40 inches wide and 30 inches high, this usually gives more room for a stronger title and room for more effective negative space. The US 1 sheets almost always have the title and credits at the very bottom of the print. Any deviation from this method looks un-natural to the common movie goers eyes because for the last few decades we have become used to viewing the movie and then seeing the credits at the end of the film. Posters are art and should be taken as art first and foremost. It seems that poster artists who create B.Q. styles have much more freedom at their disposal then those marketing the US 1 sheets to us.

Lets throw the regular B.Q.. and 1 Sheet styles of I, Robot together and see what they came up with:

Granted that the vertical version isn't much anyway, the horizontal gives way to a much nicer image. Without the restriction of placing the image within the letter "I", the designers of the B.Q. were able to make a much better effort at portraying the nature of the film. The tile text situated across Smiths chest gives it a much stronger impact then sitting alone at the bottom of the poster atop a boring black background. Not all British Quads titles differ this much from the one sheets, most simply stretch out the same image and add little extras that otherwise wouldn't fit on the vertical sheet.

Here is a great example. The advanced style for the Incredibles, horizontal and vertical. By having more space on the sides, the illusion that there is a dangerous explosion happening behind them is more apparent by adding more fire then in the vertical image.

As a collector, I prefer to have both versions of posters. I surely doubt that movie theaters nation wide are going to start displaying B.Q.'s in their light boxes because of my humble opinion. If anyone reading this has made the decision to pick up a British Quad of their favorite poster and allow another style of art to grace their walls, then I feel I have accomplished something.


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