Design Analysis: A Toy Story Poster!

Talking about design, the first things to know are about the fundamental of design, design principles, and what good designers need to have. And those were what we learned in the first week of Visual Language class. Next, after getting more understanding about those basic parts, we needed to analyze a design. So, here I’m analyzing a Toy Story Poster! I know, it’s just because I love Toy Story and while googling some poster examples, I just randomly found it. And I really like it! Yes, it might be very subjective. But I’m trying to analyze it based on what I’ve learned in class.

Here’s the poster! It was made by Tom Whalen (strongstuff) and posted on Deviantart. Here’s the link of the poster.

Toy Story Poster by Tom Whalen (strongstuff)

I remembered that in class we’re talking about the fundamental of design, which a good design tells a story. Looking at this poster, it brings back my childhood memory. I remembered the first time I watched Toy Story was when I was in elementary school years ago. I really loved the story, and I couldn’t forget that this was the first animation movie that made me cry. I was really touched by the movie. Right after I watched it, I wanted to work in Pixar (yes, a childhood dream). And now I realize that the first movie was back in 1995.

In my opinion, it is a good example of design. It tells me that Toy Story is an iconic movie which every 1990s kids will know. I think by only looking at the picture (without reading the title) we’ll know that it’s Toy Story (well, maybe 2000s kids won’t). What I really like about this poster is the tone and color palette make the audience remember their childhood time.

Design Principles


Clarity is about understanding the content clearly. When I saw it, I remembered that in the movie, Woody didn’t like Buzz and was very annoyed by him at first, meanwhile others toys loved Buzz because he was cool. It was delivered clearly by every toys’ expressions.

And after I read what’s the creator’s goal (which is: the goal was to capture the awe and wonder that swept all of the toys in Andy’s room (except Woody) when Buzz arrived on the screen), I thought it’s really cool! He could tell the audience clearly what he wanted to reach, just by using each character’s expression.


The poster shows its consistency by the color palette. Here’s the color palette that he used.

Color Palette

Yes, there are many colors, but I found it still consistent. He only used the colors in the palette. And it blends together. I love how he used this color palette to make it vintage. This way, it supports the storytelling.


There are many ways to define simplicity. I know there are so many elements in this poster. It just looks so full and I hardly found a free space. But since he managed to keep the colors based on the palette, I think it’s pretty simple in a different way. I wasn’t overwhelmed by looking at it.

The Details


“The Rule of Thirds” is applied in this poster. There are elements filled in every sections. Also, he put what’s important in the intersections (Look at Woody. He’s on the two intersections), which I think the most people see will be those intersections. I found it’s a well-balanced design.

Design Composition


The hierarchy is about how people see from the most important thing to the less ones. By looking at this poster, the first thing I’d notice was Woody’s expression. He organized the most important element on the front, with using of the bright color and shadow. Since the goal was to show the exception of Woody’s expression comparing to every toys, I think the element hierarchy is very good.

Design Hierarchy


Since it’s an iconic Disney & Pixar movie, of course there are Disney & Pixar fonts, which are Waltograph and Charlemagne. But it’s just for the logos. In this design, he used the combination of Serif and San Serif fonts. I like how he combined these two typeface fonts. Because I think the combination of Serif and San Serif fonts will be balanced. In the design, he used Churchward Heading Extralight for the San Serif typeface, and 58 Rodeo Regular for the Serif typeface.


Overall, I think it’s an impressive design. Not only because it’s Toy Story (well, yes..but..), but the details and the design principles are used well in the design.



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