How Cinematic Styles are impacting web design

How Cinematic Styles are impacting web design

August 2023
Design trends

More and more, we tend to incorporate cinematic techniques into our everyday life: we may apply a fish eye lens effect on Instagram to resemble a bold surfer or wear some flashy outfit we’ve seen on the screen to impress our teammates. Even our most endearing moments can be reminiscent of our favorite '90s rom-coms.

It's no surprise that cinema, a twentieth-century art form struggling to survive today through #barbenheimers, has also permeated web design. Cinema combines image, sound, and storytelling to create captivating visual experiences. Until recently, Web design was only in charge of building and maintaining impressive websites intended to inform, serve, and entertain their users. But nowadays, suddenly, they seem to have a lot in common.

Let’s explore how cinema has influenced web design in the US. We could go the obvious route and talk about how resources like composition, color, montage, typefaces, and transitions are used in general, as any AI chat platform would do. Instead, we’ll detour to review some selected examples of corporate sites, identifying those cinematic traits that have bonded with web design from coast to coast. 

1- Layouts inspired by specific movies. 

One of the most paradigmatic cases is the official Apple website, an all time favorite of our clients when it comes to references. The famous company uses a layout inspired by the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey'' to create a sense of mystery and awe. It's no shock given the fact that many of their devices come from a homage to this pioneering movie, as we can verify by watching the iPod and iPhone similarities of function and form with some visual elements from Kubrick's classic.

iPod draft by Stanley Kubrick’s movie ‘2001’ circa 1969.

This style ironically permeated for the first time in 2001. The rest is history: the website was never the same again. 2001. 2023.

2- The hero needs a hero

Often described as “an oversized banner image at the top of a website”, a hero header provides a homepage with a first strong impression of the company. In this case, the cinematic approach is instilled mostly through image selection.

Simon Tacher site 2023

Lamb IS site 2023

In an almost literal understanding of the term “hero”, a lawyer can risk being hired for the next season of Suits, or an NGO volunteer can shine like blessed by sacred forces, but with real-life heroes, you never fail.

Vistant Site 2023

3- Color grading for getting in the mood

Even without a person in frame, you may accomplish a strong cinematic effect via camera angles and accurate color grading.

Hale New site 2023

Amplify rocks Site 2023

The right colors can be used to evoke a particular emotion or feeling in website visitors. Starbucks’ website, for example, uses warm colors like red and brown to create a sense of comfort and familiarity. Sometimes they combine them with disruptive tones according to the season. 2023

4- Rhythmic montage for dynamic storytelling 

Just like in a film, montage on a website can be harnessed to quickly convey a lot of information. Rhythmic montage, characterized by short, quick cuts, creates a sense of energy and excitement. This technique can be used to make a corporate website feel more engaging, which is the stimulating effect generated by the website for Red Bull. The slideshow for this energy drink company known for extreme sports sponsorships features a sequence of close-ups, wide angles, zoom-ins and video to transmit a sensation of excitement and adventure. 2023

Amplify site 2023

    In one of our latest launches, Jetativa, a prominent aircraft sales company, adopted a logo reminiscent of '80s blockbusters where planes and spaceships stole our hearts. The typeface selected asked for a hyper-wow impression and cool movements, concepts we translated to high-end videos with production value and a fluid parallax navigation, only allowed by a hosting as sturdy as a F18 caza.

    Jetaviva site 2023

    If navigating this site doesn’t make users feel like Maverick on air or a member of the Rebel alliance, the only thing left to do is buy the goods.

    Another handy resource to build an instant connection with users is the choice of typefaces related to their specific work or hobby area. The purpose is to captivate them, the same way a movie would do with its opening credits.

    Medium site 2023

    Institute for Responsive Government Site 2023 

      We can get as far as Web3 design without leaving the perimeter of the cinematic influence. Sci-fi visionary movies such as Blade Runner, Tron, and Minority Report, remain seminal sources of inspiration even for the most disruptive websites.

      InfiniteID New site 2023 

      Printscan New site 2023 

      Expression New site 2023 

      We could continue on and on with the examples, but the key take-away is already at hand. The next time you can’t find the reference you need for your client, consider going back to the cinema.

      Leandro Braier Project Manager Team Bracket Media