Design tips for Video on Demand platforms

Where YouTube had almost a monopoly, nowadays more and more video on demand platforms are popping up like sprouts and are gaining more and more subscribers. After YouTube in the start of the 10’s, Netflix popped up and after that we have now streaming services such as Disney+, HBO and Pureflix. In the Netherlands we have services such as Videoland, TheaterThuis, WithLove and New Faith Network. These platforms have each their own team of designers, because there is a lot to design and edit behind the scenes. But what are the most important design tips for things as social media, movie posters and more? I have worked a year at a couple different streaming services, and I have made a design list with some tips!

The movie cover

When you have a movie on your platform, it is very important that you can seduce people to click on the movie. The most important thing there is to have an attractive movie cover.

First of all, the quality of the picture has to be good enough. The minimal size for a vertical movie cover should be 1080×1560, and for a landscape cover it should be 1920×1080. Make sure the whole photo and cover fits in, because you don’t wanna lose a part of the original cover. these are the dimensions all video platforms and distributors use for their covers! The simple measurements are 9:13 and 16:9.

Secondly, make the image as minimal as possible. Where movie posters have a lot of text like credits and mentions of the director, on a video platform you want your movie cover to be very clean. Your homepage has to be attractive and accessible and a lot of text in images makes a homepage look chaotic. Make sure you delete all the unnecessary text out of the image and keep it as clean as possible.

DIY Cover

Sometimes you have to create your own cover. When a movie is delivered, most of the time you will get artwork attached. But sometimes this is not available, or the quality is really bad. Then you will have to make your own version that wants the user to click on it and describes the atmosphere of the movie in just one photo. That sounds really difficult, but there are some basic tips.

People click on things that trigger them. People or animals are always a good thing to put on the cover, especially when they show some kind of emotion. They can look into the camera or look away, but make sure that they alwas look out of the picture. So for example, when they look to the right, you have to put them on the left side of the image.

Very important: don’t spoil the movie in the cover! You have to make the watcher interested enough to click on the movie, but don’t put the whole plot in the cover. Check the movie to see if there are no spoilers. So: give them a little bit, so they can fill in a part of the movie for themselves, taste the atmosphere and become interested enough.

Pro tip: if you really can’t find a cover, you can just use an interesting still of the movie. Just make sure there aren’t any spoilers!

Social media

When there is a new movie on your platform, you’ll want to let to know as many people as possible that they can watch it on your platform. And what better way than social media! Ofcourse you can’t just put the cover of the movie on Facebook, you have to trigger people. Make sure to put in the logo of your platform and make use of a call-to-action button. Lure people to your platform by making sure to make the photo as interesting as possible.

Pro tip: On the site itself you can use the pictures and lure people to your site by making banners.

Last tips

Movie poster design for cinema’s is different than cover design for video on demand, or streaming platforms. Most of the time you already have artwork, and most of the time even a photoshop file of the artwork. If this is not the case, you have to get creative. Use some beautiful fonts and keep the picture as clean, but as attractive as possible. Keep the quality very high and keep the same proportions. Make the design fluid, so you can put it in different proportions, from landscape to letter form, to banners. Be creative and lure people into watching the movie. Choose your color wisely and above all: DO NOT SPOILER THE MOVIE!

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