[FEATURE]: Dazzling Drama Posters— Sageuk Edition

Hello, today I’m sharing a few of my favorite drama posters with you! I plan to do more of this in the future and hope you will enjoy this new segment of my blog! In this post specifically, I’ll be highlighting historical drama posters, but do not fear, I will cover other genres in the near future. I decided to start with a sageuk theme because they have always been my favorite type of genre and I therefore, have seen and saved a ton of these posters.

I am definitely one of those people that will watch a drama if its posters look interesting. I don’t necessarily believe in judging a drama by its posters, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t drawn to watch certain dramas because their posters were particularly beautiful. In some cases, the drama doesn’t end up living up to the poster, and in other cases a bland poster prevents me from checking out a potentially fantastic drama until much later on. Either way, a good poster is always the best method of communicating the drama’s message and attracting attention and viewership. The following posters are numbered simply for organizational purposes and represent no ranking or preference of one over another. Let’s get started!

1.) Princess Ja Myung Go (2009)


I just love everything that’s happening in this poster. The use of negative space here is excellent and I love that it’s stark white with only a few pieces of red in the image to really make it pop. This is a perfect example of a minimalistic approach that works. There’s no bland solid color background, no shitty CGI effects, and thankfully no botched photoshop mishaps. It’s quite simple, but in a good way. There’s enough small details to capture my attention, but it doesn’t cross that dangerous threshold where things start working against each other. I really love that they have our main heroine off the the side, because if you know anything about photography, images often work better when the subject is not placed directly in the middle of the frame. I’m really loving the linear effect of the warriors on their horses. They not only break up the frame in a nice way, but provide something visually pleasing without taking away from the overall look. I think my favorite part about the poster is the snowy and stormy weather scenery that gives it such a clean yet effective look. It’s beautiful yet ominous at the same time.

2.) Secret Door (2014)


At first I wasn’t sure if I was completely sold on this poster, but the more I look at it, the more it peaks my interest. The background leaves something to be desired…I’m not sure I’m a fan of marble beige brush they used, but I understand the need for a simplistic background in this case. I think personally, I would have used a different color, most likely a lighter one, maybe even a grayish white. That being said, the rest of the content is quite powerful. I know this drama is about Crown Prince Sado, who was sentenced to death by his father (at least in real life; I’m not sure if this drama takes any historical license), but even without knowing that I think the message of a King in conflict with his son comes across well here. The power struggle between the two is clearly evident and in an alarming way. The image of a father grasping his son’s neck in a chokehold is quite potent and a gutsy image for a poster. I really like how clean cut the poster is, so that the focus is their strained relationship and it makes me want to watch the drama. I would assume from this poster, that it’s probably a very dark narrative showcasing their political battle for authority.

3.) The Royal Gambler (2016)


I fell in love with this poster, and all of the other character posters they released for this drama. There is something so beautiful about the pale whites and grays matched with the vibrant green and blue tones seen in Yeo Jin Goo’s hanbok and the overlay filters. I think the neutral browns also add to this effect. The poster definitely relates to the whole gambling concept, and I love how they have the coins and tabs at the bottom slightly translucent. It makes the poster look very dreamy and mysterious. I think the whole pastel theme is what makes this poster so visually pleasing, because there’s not much going on otherwise. It’s just the two main characters posed in a bit of a corny fashion against a wooden background. But let’s look at a few of the other posters:

I think my favorite poster is Choi Min Soo’s individual character poster. All of the character posters are against this crisp white and gray gritted background which I really love and think is super effective. But I found Choi Min Soo’s poster the most striking. I think it might be his charisma because he just looks so alluring and powerful here and the crimson red of his royal garb is an eye catching pop of color. His gaze is very strong and captivating and we can tell that his is a force to be reckoned with. The other poster is also quite powerful as we have our four male leads posing with their strong gazes. Again, the simplicity and muted color scheme work in favor of the poster. I’m really taken with Jeon Kwang Ryeol’s presence in particular. You can really see the emotion there and know he is a man with clear ambitions.

4.) The Blade and Petal  (2013)


This poster has so much going on, which makes it different from the previous selections on my list. It’s still very effective though, and quite beautiful. We have our leading couple in a bed of roses with warm red, purple and pink hues surrounding them. Our female’s hanbok is quite stunning in itself, but I am taken with the way she has her sword close to our leading man’s throat. His expression is quite melancholic and his gaze is aimed out into the distance as if he’s longing or regretful of something. I wonder about the relationship between these two characters. I really like the shine effect they used on the blade in particular. It draws the eye toward the center of the frame, and it makes sense since the drama is titled Blade and Petal.

5.) Scholar Who Walks the Night (2015)


This poster is so eerie and dreamlike at the same time. I love the fireflies sprinkled about the scenery and I think they together with the full moon create a very haunting but fitting effect. The drama is indeed a fantasy fusion about vampires, and Lee Jun Ki’s figure definitely delivers a mysterious, but elegant looking character. I admit you can definitely tell it’s CGI, and it could be considered a bit campy when you look a bit closer at the background details, but I think overall it achieves a very beautiful look. The font choice was spot on here, and I like that they made it a glowing white color because the luminosity adds to the desired effect. The blood spatter isn’t overdone which I appreciate because that could have been super tragic and corny.

That’s all for now! I have quite a few honorable mentions, but I could honestly go on forever adding posters to this list. I hope you enjoyed looking at these posters and that they have possibly inspired you to check out some of these awesome dramas. If you have any favorite posters of your own, please do comment below! I’d love to see them!


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