When I was a kid, I had an early video game system called the Atari 2600.
The graphics were primitive and pixelated. But every time I went to the store to buy a new game, the technological shortcomings of the 2600 were soon forgotten. This is because, while standing in the store the fictional game reality depicted on the box cover made each game seem like the coolest thing ever!
But when I got home, I soon realized there was quite a gap between the artwork and the actual video game. This was my introduction to how artwork and marketing influences buying decisions.
When it comes to movie marketing, your poster must influence the buying decision of a potential audience member. Your poster should incorporate your logo and colors, while at the same time, specifically target your intended audience. And while making a movie poster may be essential for certain aspects of independent film funding, as new and exciting options for independent movie distribution become available, the need to print a physical poster may be secondary to the broader focus of building an online film marketing presence.
In this sense, even if your movie never screens theatrically, a movie poster design is a good starting point when establishing the overall brand of your independent movie. The colors, logo, font and art will be used in creating your website, film festival postcards and other promotional materials. Additionally, should you decide to create a DVD, the art will be utilized on the box cover as well as your DVD menus.
As a first time feature filmmaker, you may want to research successful movies in the same genre. Figure out what you like about those posters and artwork. Then hire your best artist friend to create something that works!