Enchantment Under The Sea Poster


This is the school dance poster from the 1985 film Back to the Future.


This fun and slightly naive school poster was most likely designed by Al Gaynor, the “graphic artist / scenic artist” from the Back to the Future art department, as listed on IMDB. Unfortunately, I’m not 100% sure who actually created this iconic piece of design and that’s a shame, but the reality of a graphic prop designer’s job.


The dance was held on November 12th 1955 and Marty McFly is there because he travels back in time from 1985 in his friend Dr. Emmett Brown’s time machine and… well you know how it goes.


This poster captures the rough, painty, cut out style of a student’s attempt at a romantic poster from the 1950s. The use of pale pink and pale blue together actually complement each other enough to look sort of appealing. The wonky hearts, dark green seaweed and random pink fish are brilliant as they just look terrible but that’s why it works so well as a poster supposedly designed by a 16-year-old pupil with little artistic taste. The “S” at the beginning of “Sea” however is quite cool, I think it’s a dolphin.

The finishing line is probably the best part however, as the language from the time was beautifully used, “Be there or be square” was a stroke of genius. The phrase is a clear time stamp for the audience if they payed attention to the poster on screen as it was coined in the late 1940’s / early 1950’s, and the attempt at peer pressure from the student who wrote it worked well, I’m sure.


I just love the thought that went into designing such a cringy but appropriate poster for the film and although I don’t have a copy on my wall, I’d highly respect anyone who does.

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