Home > Graphics, Visual Design > Critical Analysis – Buried.

Critical Analysis – Buried.

Buried is a new and exciting film about a man who’s stuck in a coffin with only 90 minutes of oxygen. The whole film’s narrative is central around the sense of claustrophobia and entrapment.

My assignment task for this week is to do a critical analysis of an interesting type case study and I believe that this film poster is a perfect example of how to use and make the most of typography. In this example, the designers who have created this poster have used the core elements of the films narrative – entrapment and claustrophobia – and adapted it to print by manipulating typography. To me this poster reads ‘Saul Bass’ and the famous Vertigo movie poster design which was also constructed in such a way that the audience, in this case, would feel a sense of vertigo (see picture below)

Below I will go through in detail about each element of the type construction giving a critical analysis and opinion on the overall effect it creates.

1) Sans Serif font –

By using a sans serif font instead of a serif one all of the letters are individual, bold and stand out powerfully. Additionally, I think it compliments the quotations and the style of the type used on other promotional posters for the film such as the one below. However, I also think that a serif font may have been effective because the tails and flow may have created a more swirled effect to mirror more of the descending feel.

2) White font v black background –

This classic colour combination is reflective of a newspaper article, apart from it is introverted – which once again intensifies the quotations employed. Additionally, the designer has elected to put the title of the film in a bold red colour to stand out again the rest of the poster but also bring your eye straight to the title of the film to create an immediate association between the great poster and the film. Personally, I feel that the strong colour contrast makes the typography techniques employed by the designer even more dramatic and effective.

3) Increase or decrease in type size –

To coupled the sense of claustrophobia the  film creates throughout the narrative, the designer here has simply included a variety of scaled types to create a simple yet effective result. Because the image and title ‘Buried’ are located near the centre of the poster, your eye naturally descends which makes the decreasing text size more noticeable. This clever technique makes the image of Ryan Reynolds seemingly entrapped and reflects the connotations of the title ‘Buried’ and the films plot.


Personally, I think the film posters for Buried are some of the best of 2010, and this has got to be one of my favourites. Now I have learnt a little bit more about the importance of typography I appreciate this poster even more. The striking and dramatic colour selections along side the scaling creates a subconscious sense of enclosure. Furthermore, even as the top quotations are unreadable as they scroll off the page instensifies this mood even more as it shows how buried Ryan Reynolds” character really is!

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