First Bland B&W Poster for Steven Spielberg's 'Lincoln' Revealed

August 22, 2012

Abraham Lincoln

They don't even have a tagline! Maybe they don't need one? Disney, releasing this DreamWorks film, has unveiled the first (teaser) poster for Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, about our 16th President. It's another profile of Daniel Day-Lewis as the one-and-only Abraham Lincoln. Yet we still haven't seen a trailer or any footage - soon, very soon, I imagine (coming next). Honestly, I'm not impressed by this at all. Given we just saw a first look at Lincoln in full color and costume, why a B&W head as the only imagery on an entire poster? Seems like lazy/safe design to me, when this should be more bold. But that's just me. In full below!

Here's the first official poster from Disney debuted in full. We expect to see a lot more from Lincoln soon.

Steven Spielberg's Lincoln Poster

Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, which finished shooting last year, stars Daniel Day-Lewis (of My Left Foot, Gangs of New York, There Will Be Blood) as our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, and focuses on the last four months of his life, guiding the North to victory during the Civil War. The cast includes Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jackie Earle Haley, Lee Pace, John Hawkes, Walton Goggins, Hal Holbrook, Tim Blake Nelson and David Oyelowo. The film has a screenplay by Oscar nominee Tony Kushner (Angels in America, Munich), based on many books about Lincoln's life. Disney, releasing the DreamWorks production, will debut Lincoln in limited theaters starting on November 9th, expanding wide on the 16th.

Find more posts: Hype, Posters



I find the picture in B&W is quite fitting, it being in the time when photography was "born". I wonder if this picture/poster is shot in large format/wet plate collodion ? You know, old timey photography, on glass plates?

David Banner on Aug 22, 2012


Not that impressed? You want a tagline? THIS IS ABE LINCOLN BABY, he needs no tagline! This poster is super badass! Combining SS and DDL is can't miss stuff!

abelincolnindahouse on Aug 22, 2012


And I used to get called out for overusing "badass"... This poster could not be further from badass in every way. It is the most un-badass thing I've seen. Sure, Daniel Day-Lewis is badass and he's going to do a great job as Lincoln, but "badass" does not describe his character or this poster at all.

Alex Billington on Aug 22, 2012


I wouldn't say that this poster is badass, but it's a nice poster. Better than some other posters that's been coming out lately.

nate on Aug 22, 2012


Fuck Alex, I agre with you on most things but are you ever wrong here. Wtf do you want. Abe holding a musket and a half naked broad hanging off him??? Awesome poster. Intense...Abe was known as a thinker...that's what he is doing.

StilesStilinski on Aug 22, 2012


Agree completely, although a musket and a half naked broad would be pretty cool too.

grimjob on Aug 22, 2012


No, I don't want anything worse, why would I want anything worse? I want something better, much better. In fact, we deserve better. Something with imagery, with a context, some color, something with actual excitement to it, or is eye-catching, interesting, appealing, fascinating, something that has some creativity to it. Not this. Anything but this.

Alex Billington on Aug 22, 2012


While I like the poster, I agree with you that "badass" is definitely not a word I would use to describe it. It's the opposite of badass, because it is subdued, which I like.

Daniel Koelsch on Aug 22, 2012


Bland? Or exactly what it needs to be? Honestly though, this is just fine. Lincolns profile is very recognizable and this is using it to it's full potential. Having the head tilted means there's drama. Those things work. No tagline? Bless them.

Hans on Aug 22, 2012


um i don't even see Danial Day-Lewis I just see a picture of Lincoln

DoomCanoe on Aug 22, 2012


I had the same impression. Don't see even a speck of DDL in this. Can't wait!

grimjob on Aug 22, 2012


Just because it's plain and simple doesn't mean you have to defend plain and simple. Yes, it's all about DDL and his character, but it's also very lazy and bland and just uninspired.

Alex Billington on Aug 22, 2012


Agreed! It's a beautiful poster and the black and white fits perfectly in this case. It's simple and effective.

moutchy on Aug 22, 2012


Wow Alex, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I really think you are completely wrong on this one. This is a very appropriate and wonderful poster..

Tester on Aug 22, 2012


And I think everyone is completely wrong in thinking this has beauty or any inspiration or creativity. I really don't understand how anyone thinks that about it? There is such vast potential, from the wonderful life that Lincoln had, for so much other imagery. Give us something that isn't just another B&W shot of Lincoln on a white background.

Alex Billington on Aug 22, 2012


Well, I still do not agree, but I think we can agree to disagree on this one. As I said, we are all entitle to our opinion and I certainly appreciate you allowing us to do so on your site..

Tester on Aug 22, 2012


My point isn't that this would or wouldn't stand out. My point is that out of the vast potential of Lincoln imagery, this is on the low end, the bottom of the barrel, of what we could've seen. Yes, there could be worse, but there could be SO much better. The tagline I don't care about at all. I want something striking and bold and unforgettable, this is plain and simple and uninspired. It stands out for all the wrong reasons.

Alex Billington on Aug 22, 2012


Abe standing on a mountain top looking off into the distance. His hair and coat blowing in the wind, a bald eagle sitting on his outstretched arm while he holds the American flag in the other one. Oh, and of course it wouldn't be b/w, it'd be blue/orange. So iconic, oh em geeee!

SuicidalOptimist on Aug 22, 2012


It's simple enough. Is there a level of expectation that the movie is going to be anything more than Lincoln? The poster fits what we all know the movie is going to be about.

Katy on Aug 22, 2012


why would you need a tag line for this? Who doesn't know Lincoln. The poster is perfect the way it is.

truong18 on Aug 22, 2012


This is the best poster I've seen all year

Hazedmind on Aug 22, 2012


A bland poster, your kidding me right? oh yeah I guess it's missing a vampire or Lincoln holding an axe about to kill a vampire really what Lincoln movie are you thinking about? It perfectly sets the tone and mood for this film...we don't need another action Lincoln poster this year.

JerseyBoy on Aug 22, 2012


Not everything has to have over-sized typography, impotent taglines, grain textures, wind effects, lens flares or instagram-ed photo treatments. This won't win any awards, but it's a very classy poster, it's been executed well and it's a welcome divergence from the deficient norm.

adesigner on Aug 22, 2012


Indeed, not everything needs lens flares or treatments. But over many years of design evolution we've learned to use color, we've learned to use whitespace in subtle but appropriate ways, we've learned to use more than black and white photography to convey a message, or black and white in creative ways (like Schindler's List). This poster is uninspired. There's no creativity to it. Nothing unique about it besides being another shot of Lincoln. How can you claim there's more to it? What has this design done that no other design has done before, or they conveys something that is not known or unseen about Lincoln? Or is just a pass because it's none of that and nothing else either.

Alex Billington on Aug 22, 2012


This poster says, "Lincoln. Not the vampire hunter (kidding), not the 16th president, not the Civil War personality. Lincoln, the man, and no more need be said." I love that. This is about his life, not just his years in the spotlight. Of course, it's not just a portrait: he's contemplative, he's staring off into the distance pondering the course of his life and his nation. Of course, it is 'boring', I'll give you that, but what would you're alternative be? Him signing the Proclamation? Him at a Civil War camp? I think this one is so much classier, even if those may have been a little more 'interesting'. I will agree with you on one point: where the HECK is the hype? Where the HHHHEEEEECCCCCKKKKKK are the trailers? But again, I think this plays into that. It's a simple teaser to show the general movie-going population that this biopic is coming, and more is soon to just better follow soon or we'll be getting the first trailer after the movie is released.

Waffles on Aug 22, 2012


EVERYTHING you have just written here is bloody marvellous! 5 acorns for you, Sir...

Akira Smith on Aug 25, 2012


Minimalism ftw! Poster is great.

mgray on Aug 22, 2012


Ridiculously cool.

DAVIDPD on Aug 22, 2012


Nice. Too bad it'll be a sappy watered down Spielberg film. Pass.

Christopher Batty on Aug 22, 2012


and the Oscar goes to....Daniel Day-Lewis

Andrew on Aug 22, 2012


Great Poster!

Ryderup on Aug 22, 2012


Or... wait a minute... isn't it... missing an.. exciting.... tagline...?

Ryderup on Aug 22, 2012


Why does everyone instantly throw back the response of "I've seen worse" or "what do you want to see, the president high-fiving?" Of course not. I've never said that, not even implied it, so I don't understand where that's coming from. The studio would never consider that. My point is that, out of everything the studio did have to consider, I think this one is bland, tasteless, there's no creativity, when there certainly should have been (half glass full, not empty). While it certainly could be worse, it could also be a lot better. Better in so many ways (and I'm not talking about a tagline). Not just by adding some color, or some highlights or accent (besides in the font), but by adding some background, some slight context, a more intense focal point, some design/patterns, some gradient or hint of color transition, there are so many ideas beyond these - and yet there's not much there. Just a black and white photo. Simple, sure, but a huge wasted potential for what is sure to be a grand cinematic story. That's my biggest gripe.

Alex Billington on Aug 22, 2012


I think your issue with the poster has more to do with what you expect from the film than of the poster itself. It sounds like you are expecting some kind of epic tale of the last days of Lincoln's life. When I've always thought it would be a very small and personal film about the man himself and that is embodied perfectly in this poster. Its Lincoln the man, no distractions, just the man and his own thoughts and regrets. The White background is bold and creative because its unexpected, but at the same time it speaks volumes to what the film is about and more importantly what it isn't about (the war or the assassination). I would also say it sticks out because of how familiar the profile of Lincoln is. When I saw your tweets about the poster, I was expecting a disaster, and sure this poster doesn't blow your mind, but it is far from unattractive. Maybe its that I'm very much a minimalist when it comes to movie posters, but I would certainly hang this on my wall.

Jordan Scott on Aug 22, 2012


I love this poster. I think his has great gravitas. Plus, I am a sucker for minimalistic designs.

SuicidalOptimist on Aug 22, 2012


I disagree. This poster is simple yet very effective. Like one of those striking TIME covers. It doesn't need to say anything else besides Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln, November. Anything you add to this poster would be nothing but distraction and clutter.

Guest of Honor on Aug 22, 2012


This is a perfect poster for two great men - Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Day-Lewis. "Bland" is 99% of the badly photoshopped movie posters we see nowadays.

max on Aug 22, 2012


The tagline is "a Steven Spielberg film" That's all you need to get people interested in seeing the film plus everyone knows who Lincoln is. I live in Australia and I know who he is so this film will not be hard to sell. Though I thought Liam Neeson was playing Lincoln in the film?

Last son on Aug 22, 2012


People take way to much from movie posters these days. Dude, its just a bloody poster!

the wolf on Aug 22, 2012


Bland? Are you kidding? This is just what it should be.. tasteful.

Jeff Metzger on Aug 23, 2012


Perfect poster. As "bland" as Ansel Adams.

Concourse D on Aug 23, 2012


I love this poster for several reasons. -It illustrates Lincoln not as a Hero, President, Husband, Father, or anything other than a MAN. A man with an idea, goal, purpose. -The view of Lincoln is pretty black and white. Hes the man who freed the slaves. Freed the ""blacks from the whites". This poster seems fairly appropriate in terms of what Lincoln is predominantly known for. -To add anything to the poster, i feel, would complicate it and take away from the overall goal of the movie. After seeing this poster, i honestly could not picture it in any other light. Be it on the field of Gettysburg or addressing the nation in his Gettysburg address. This poster minimizes a man who had such an incredible impact on this country. It separates him from what he is known for and allows him to be just a MAN. In that, i find this poster perfect.

munch on Aug 23, 2012


Part of me is upset we still haven't seen a trailer. Then another part of me is glad so we do not have to deal with a new trailer every week.

jacobcrim on Aug 23, 2012


It's a teaser poster... it's not supposed to be flashy and annoying, but simple and tasteful. And based on the type of movie this is, this poster is genius marketing. It intrigues you enough to make you want more without giving too much away. What else do you want from a TEASER poster? And not every movie needs a cheesy tag line, especially in this genre. His look says enough. Spielberg keepin' it classy. The only thing that is uninspired and that lacks creativity is this article.

HandJibber on Aug 30, 2012


Bland? It's a great picture. Glad I'm not you.

heywally on Aug 31, 2012

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