Think about the 1990s hit Trainspotting. You’re probably remembering the iconic poster as much as the film itself. It perfectly demonstrates the power, potential and scope for creativity offered in designing movie posters. That’s not to say it isn’t hugely challenging too, as summing up an entire movie in a single shot is far from easy. Perhaps that’s why there’s a current trend among many young designers to re-imagine and recreate iconic movie posters. As far as challenges go it’s one of the toughest. Think you can come up with a better movie poster concept than Saul Bass? Got an idea that would give the original Star Wars designer a run for their money? That’s the very brief these designers have tasked themselves with, as we take a look at reimagined and redesigned movie posters from a hand-picked pool of extraordinarily talented new designers.
Here’s Johnny, and he looks even creepier than normal thanks to this chilling concept. The text looms ominously. The door forms part of the typography and plays with perspective in such a way that you feel compelled to try and open it. The carpet is freakily psychedelic. And Jack’s weapon of choice appears horribly emphasised in his silhouette.
Tough, masculine and triumphant, Top Gun is far from subtle when it comes to saying ‘God Bless America’. This 1980s Air Force tour de force is perfectly summed up in the image of the archetypal flying jacket – special mention goes out to the military inspired colour palette.
It’s impossible to think of Hunter S. Thomson without bringing to mind a few choice items. Mescaline and multi-coloured uppers aside, the man was never seen without his shades, his hat and his cigarette. The bleached-out tones of this poster complement the sun-drenched Cali-psyche feel of both the film and original novel; a beautifully understated treatment for a movie depicting the ultimate in drug-fuelled carnage.
Depp again, in another odd-ball guise. This beautifully crafted movie poster uses an intricate cut out technique. It creates a spider’s web fragility that reflects the film’s sensitive and delicate storyline. Note the painstaking level of detail; the cut out typography, the fine wisps of hair and the barely healed scars on Scissorhand’s face.
Reimagined movie posters can sometimes be tongue in cheek. Check out this cheeky and irreverent poster for psychological horror Black Swan. Natalie Portman is replaced with a satanic Lego woman, complete with tiara, winged makeup and eerily blank smile.
The first Star Wars movies are brilliantly reconceptualised in this poster campaign. They use instantly recognisable silhouettes of characters from the original three chapters; Darth Vader, Boba Fett and C-3PO. Within these character outlines are placed depictions from key locations, along with a story-specific colour palette that reflects the tone and mood of each movie.
Raiders of the Lost Ark counts film noir, Saturday matinees and comic strip stories for boys among its influences. And this brilliantly redesigned movie poster showcases all these inspirations. Iconic character outlines, that have much in common with 1950s Saul Bass artwork, are shown in a distinctly desert-inspired colour palette along with a heroic typography style that boldly announces the leading lady and hero himself; a movie poster that promises epic adventures on a grand scale.
Batman and the Joker; two opposing forces for good and evil who have so much in common. By dividing this poster neatly down the middle the designer is emphasising the similarities and differences of the two protagonists. Pay particular attention to the contrasting backgrounds and the different treatment of colour. The resulting sense of cohesion is a testament to the skill and talents of the designer.
A childhood that wasn’t traumatised by the death of Bambi’s mother just isn’t complete. This dark tipping point in the movie provides inspiration for the treatment of this classic Disney movie poster. The use of dark tones for the background is the perfect foil for the piercing white eyes of the deer. An arresting stare that stops you in your tracks.
The much-parodied mirror moment in Taxi Driver is represented in a non-clichéd way by this brilliant designer. The cleverly reflected word ‘driver’, the striking red, white and black colour palette, and the uncompromisingly clean typography add a gritty, hard-hitting and iconic edge.
Are there any reimagined movie posters that you’ve found that deserve a mention? Let us know in the comments.
Alex writes for printing experts Print Express, who specialise in flyers, posters & custom printed postcards. In his spare time he studies graphic & web design and aims to improve his Photoshop skills.