Much like entrepreneurs, independent filmmakers wear many different hats and develop a wide variety of skills. Oftentimes, they have to be their own producer, director, editor, even their own graphic designer.

Thanks to continued advancements in technology, filmmakers have access to a host of design tools specifically engineered to be user friendly—allowing filmmakers to turn out professional graphics without suffering a potential learning curve. Here are some scenarios where independent filmmakers might be grateful to have graphic design skills in their creative arsenal.

Titles and Credits

When major studios produce a film, they have entire teams that do nothing but produce the titles and credits. Yes, there are a number of premade titles and credits to choose from in most video editing programs, but they are often very standard looking (read: boring).

Custom titles and credits are one way you can raise the production value of your film without needing additional budget. You can even use Photoshop to create your own original fonts.

Graphic Props

Most films need a collection of signs, banners, documents, newspapers, magazines, and other graphic elements for the sake of authenticity. With quality graphics, you can create these props without spending a fortune to have a professional graphic designer make them for you.

Marketing Materials

One thing that every experienced filmmaker knows is that making a film is only half the battle—getting people to watch the film is the other half. If you invest the energy into raising a marketing budget, the last thing you want to do is blow a big chunk of it just having the marketing materials designed.

With even basic design skills, you can create your own marketing materials. That means you can actually spend your marketing budget on buying and distributing marketing materials—rather than spending it on having them created.

While some independent filmmakers have attended film school, the truth is that many filmmakers are also self-taught—often by simple trial and error. Don’t be afraid to take the plunge into learning graphic design. You may just find that it will pay off in the end.

Great examples of graphic design in film can be found amongst our esteemed filmmakers to watch. Want to join their ranks?  What are you waiting for?  Share your film with the St. Lawrence International Film Festival today!


  • What Do Graphic Designers Actually Do on Major Motion Pictures? | Layers Magazine

  • Brush Up on Your Skills With Photoshop Training | PSD Learning

  • Why Filmmakers Should Learn Graphic Design | DSLRGuide