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Minimalist movie posters have taken the internet by storm. You can find them for sale at online print stores and all over Pinterest. They might already grace your house or office walls with visual inspiration.
Movie poster redesigns are popular among designers and non-designers alike. Taking a story and visualizing it into a poster-sized graphic is no easy feat. New and seasoned designers recreate classic movie posters to brush up on skills and show off their creative prowess. For example, artist Peter Majarich redesigned a movie poster every day for an entire year, using the hashtag #amovieposteraday for social media coverage. Some film posters have been redesigned numerous times, like “The Shining” and “Titanic.”
Let’s look at some of our favorite designers who have taken it upon themselves to create minimalist movie posters, plus some illustrative and conceptual posters.
Chungkong is a graphic designer and artist from the Netherlands who has designed over 800 minimalist movie posters. He sells these posters online and makes a killing. His conceptualizations come in all forms: some are taken from the story of the movie, others from the set design and some from characters themselves. Chungkong’s minimalist movie posters are a wonderful representation of what a talented artist can achieve with the use of his imagination and effective branding.
All of Chungkong’s minimal movie posters follow a template of his own design. He uses the same font and title layout for all the posters. He also uses a textured overlay and his signature graces the bottom right hand corner every time. And to top it off, all posters include a famous quote from the respective movie in the bottom half of the design. This practice creates a common thread throughout his work, making his posters branded and unique at the same time. Here are some of our favorites:
For the “Fellowship of the Ring” poster, Chungkon uses the perfectly circular shape of the ring and the eye of Sauron inside it as the main attraction. He uses the color yellow to represent the gold of the ring.
This 2017 redesign of the “Wonder Woman” movie poster features a minimalist representation of the outfit with the original W shape over the bust. The logo for the title keeps the original double W as the main element. Chungkon’s minimalist poster uses that element and turns it into the most important aspect of his poster, along with the white star which represents the United States.
“The Walk” is the true story of Philippe Petit, a French tight-rope walker who astounded the world by sneaking into the World Trade Center towers as they were being built and set up his line from the South to the North tower and walked across. The difference between the original and the redesigned poster is the point of view, yet the stark blue in the new poster is what gives the new design that minimalist feel.
This film tells the story of a race of aliens who arrive on Earth in order to send a message to humanity. Their language is difficult to decipher, as it consist of smoke circles. The original poster shows the ship, helicopters and the characters, but the minimalist one shows only the ship and one of the alien messages.
The film adaptation of the Stephen King classic “Misery” tells the story of a woman who takes home the victim of a car accident. Turns out the victim is her favorite author and things take a twisted turn. The sledgehammer in Chungkon’s poster represents the tools she uses to abuse and torture the author she has trapped in her home.
A huge part of the film “The Guardians of the Galaxy” is the music. The soundtrack is not only one of the best in recent film history, it’s also a big part of the story. The setting for “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the not-so-distant future. The main character is half human and carries a 90s style walkman with a tape that has a sticker in shades of orange stuck to it. This minimalist movie poster depicts the tape and the secondary characters’ silhouettes in the same shades as the tape.
Borat, one of the most “uncomfortable” movies of all time, is a cult classic. Hilarious, and also completely inappropriate, the movie begins with Borat coming to America from Kazakhstan and making an unforgettable impression on everyone he encounters. Filmed as a documentary, the people interviewed by Borat have no idea that it’s really the comedic journey of actor Sacha Baron Cohen. This minimalist movie poster might look like just a green shape over a pink background but it really depicts one of the most hilarious moments of the film when Borat wears a mankini on the beach.
Who hasn’t tried to recreate the lift scene in “Dirty Dancing”? This iconic moment is immortalized in this poster by Chungkon.
One of the most acclaimed films in movie history is “The Shawshank Redemption,” a story about a man who was imprisoned for a murder he did not commit and spent 19 years digging a tunnel through his cell wall with a rock hammer. A central plot twist of the movie is cleverly represented in this minimalist redesign with negative space in the shape of a pick hammer and a figure chipping away at a wall.
This classic John Hughes’ movie is brilliantly summarized in this minimalist design with just a handful of circles and rectangles, which represent the main characters of the movie sitting in Saturday afternoon detention. Don’t miss the clever legend and creative use of color to symbolize how each character is labelled by the rest of society.
Another prime example of the “less is more” philosophy, this minimalist movie poster does a fine job of using as little ink as possible to portray one of the most memorable scenes of this espionage film.
In this Christopher Nolan film set in a dystopian future, the Earth is suffering from a global crop blight and a team of astronauts is sent to explore the universe to find a new home for the human race. This minimalist movie poster designed by Doaly succinctly summarizes the premise of the film with just a few lines and shapes in three solid colors: red, black and white.
In this mind-bending fantasy thriller, a thief steals information by entering into the dreams of others. This minimalist movie poster by renowned U.K. artist Matt Needle pithily represents the intricacies of the human psyche with a complex maze in the shape of a human head.
Oscar-nominated movie “The Help,” a film about a young writer who tells the story of African-American maids during the Jim Crow era, is efficiently portrayed in this minimalist poster. With just black-and-white icons and a well-placed title, this movie poster summarizes one of the central subplots of the movie.
A site created by “designers trying to fight monotony of the 9 to 5 with original contemporary art,” Calm The Ham took on the challenge of creating their own version of “The Silence of the Lambs” movie poster. With just a black shape representing Hannibal Lecter’s mask over a textured orange background, this minimalist poster memorializes one of the most representative scenes of the movie.
This cult classic about a discontented white-collar worker who starts a fight club with a sociopathic soap maker is concisely summarized in this minimalist poster with just a bar of soap. For those who watched the movie, you know that soap plays an important symbolic role in the movie, going beyond a mere cleansing agent to a critique of capitalism.
In 2016, designer Peter Majarich took on the challenge of redesigning a movie poster per day, for an entire year. He shared each of the 366 posters in his collection through the Tumblr account he created for this purpose. Some posters use mostly text, while others employ unique imagery and photography to depict the designer’s minimalist conceptualizations. Here is a collection of our favorite designs by Peter Majarich.
The coming-of-age movie “The Hunger Games” became a cult classic quite quickly due to its unforgettable plot and do-or-die storyline. In this redesigned minimalist poster, an arrow head is used in place of the letter “A” over a gray slate background, which represents the stark political situation in this invented world.
This classic film starring the ultimate comedy duo Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore is about a boy trying to win over a girl who loses her memory every night when she goes to sleep. The next day, she wakes up and forgets that she ever met him. After 50 dates, he finally wins her over. This minimalist poster is so simple yet it perfectly depicts this romantic story with a happy ending.
The cult classic Thelma and Louise is the story of two women who go on a weekend trip that turns into a whirlwind of unfortunate events. In the last scene of the film, Thelma and Louise decide to drive off a cliff and plunge to their deaths rather than be captured by the police for murdering a man who was trying to rape one of them. It’s a powerful movie that has been beautifully immortalized in this minimalist movie poster.
This is my personal favorite of all the minimalist movie poster redesigns. There is a scene in “Apocalyspe Now” in which one of the characters, Colonel Kilgore, says “I love the smell of napalm in the morning” while blowing up the Vietnam jungle in the background. This is easily the most famous quote of the film. The conceptualization of this poster goes beyond this famous line and takes it one step further.
The movie “1984″ is an adaptation of the George Orwell book of the same name. The story is about a post-apocalyptic society in which Big Brother is watching over everyone. This redesigned poster is conceptually minimal as it says it all with a single hidden camera.
In the movie “Psycho,” the main character is attacked in the shower by a man with a knife. This scene is one of the most memorable in the history of film. This poster doesn’t depict any characters or a scene—just a bloody visualization of the shower, after the fact.
These minimalist movie posters by Moxy House Creative are part of a collection called “Dress the Part.” The idea behind these posters is to minimally depict a character’s signature outfit using just the most important details.
This Minimalist movie poster for “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” uses the idea of “dress the part” to depict the memorable accessories used by the main character Raoul Duke. Anyone who wants to dress up as Raoul Duke just needs to wear a bucket hat, aviator glasses and smoke a cigarette with a small holder. This poster does a great job of conceptualizing that.
We all know the story of Superman and his civilian identity Clark Kent: the only article of clothing that disguises him is a pair of glasses. This simple accessory, along with the name Christopher Reeves, is enough to bring to mind the movie “Superman,” although I would have added a little bit of red to this minimalist poster.
Drew Carey and Jeff Daniels star in this 90s comedy about two “dumb” men who have an epic adventure after finding a suitcase full of money in their car. This minimalist movie poster depicts the two top hats they wore to a charity ball, in matching orange and light blue tuxedos.
In the same vein as “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” Moxy Creative takes the idea of conceptualizing the important features of the main character and depicting it over a colored background. In this case, it’s Ron Burgundy’s hairdo and moustache over a well-chosen burgundy color.
Wes Anderson’s classic “Bottle Rocket” is a crime comedy with a great story. Youssef chose to conceptualize a scene in which one of the characters is wearing a yellow jumpsuit and the antagonist calls him a “little banana.” The yellow jumpsuits are later a very important aspect of the film. The way this artist took one small quote and turned it into a work of art is proof of the magic of minimalist movie posters.
The Tarantino movie “Inglourious Basterds” is an alternate, fictional version of World War II, set in Nazi-occupied France. In the redesigned poster, Ibraheem Youssef depicts a notorious moment in the movie when the main character uses a non-German manner of gesturing the number three with his hand. This was the gesture that gave him away as a spy.
Jamie Bolton is a graphic designer based in London who designs minimal movie posters as a hobby. His love of film is the driving inspiration for these posters.
Almost everyone has seen “Home Alone.” In this Christmas favorite, Macaulay Culkin’s character devises traps to trick the men who want to rob his house. The paint cans depicted in the poster are part of the booby traps he sets up for the pair of incompetent burglars.
“The Shining,” one of the most watched horror movies of all time, is a favorite among designers as inspiration for minimalist movie posters. This particular one depicts the intricate pattern of the carpets used in the hotel hallways.
This poster for “Jurassic Park” memorializes an unforgettable scene in the film: the glass of rippling water, announcing the arrival of a deadly T-rex.
In one of the most memorable scenes of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” everyone dances the Time Warp. The song goes like this: “It’s just a step to the left. And then a step to the right. With your hands on your hips. You bring your knees in tight. But it’s the pelvic thrust. That really drives you insane.”
There are plenty of “James Bond” films for designers to illustrate as movie posters; in this case Thornley picked “Diamonds Are Forever.” He conceptualized the title of the movie using an infinity sign made of diamonds.
Flore Maquin, a graphic designer and illustrator from France, has created a beautiful collection of redesigned movie posters. All her posters depict the main character of the film as the focus of the design. All her illustrative movie posters have a shiny and vibrant quality to them that make the characters come alive.
On top of these brilliant illustrations, Flore adds a special text composition with the name of the film to each poster. Feast your eyes on some of our favorites:
This redesign of “The Mask” uses the main concept of the original poster and renews it in a brighter and more vibrant manner. Like in most of Flore’s posters, the character is looking straight at the viewer, which transforms the design into a special viewing experience.
In this poster for “Scream,” Flore used a border that gives the poster an antique feel. Its purpose is to memorialize the movie “Scream” as a modern cult classic and establish Drew Barrymore’s expression of sheer terror as a cultural icon.
In this poster for “Interstellar,” the designer transmits the characters’ emotions in their facial expressions. The lines in the background and foreground represent the importance of time in the story, while the title of the movie shaped as a circle represents the cycle of life. It’s obvious that Flore studies each movie before she designs a poster for it.
Leeloo, one of the main characters in “The Fifth Element,” is a favorite among Comic Con fans and nerdy Halloween parties. Her intense story and personality have been influential to an entire generation and this poster immortalizes her.
Hanzel Haro invokes a darker style to his poster redesigns. He chooses powerful and intense films with interesting stories. Hanzel conceptualizes the story and illustrates the new poster with a strong image. His work is a good example of how a seasoned designer can benefit from conceptualizing an old classic and turning it into something completely new.
This “Hannibal” poster depicts the most important moment of the movie, even though it’s a bit of a spoiler! If you managed to watch the whole film, the part where the main character feasts on his victim’s brain is a scene you just can’t forget.
This “Mad Max” redesign has Immortan Joe as its main attraction. The exaggerated orange skin is symbolic of the color of the sand that sticks to everybody in this new world, and also representative of the anger in his character.
Andrew Fairclough took on the challenge of conceptualizing the movie “Groundhog Day.” Instead of choosing an important scene or showcasing a main character, Andrew took a more conceptual route. The story told in “Groundhog Day” is that of a man who repeats the same day over and over, all the while revisiting the same moments with different perspectives. It’s a psychological comedy and the redesign poster is a great visualization of that idea.
Adam’s redesigned movie posters are illustrative and conceptual. They represent the plots of major films in a completely different light, and also include an unexpected amounts of spoilers.
“Singin’ in the Rain” is a song that has an important role in the film “A Clockwork Orange.” This redesigned poster intertwines a violent scene in “A Clockwork Orange” with a scene from the original “Singin’ in The Rain” movie. The eyeball takes a privileged position atop the street light, using the same analogy of “the all-seeing eye” depicted in the original poster.
The movie “Inside Out” is about an imaginative reality in which our feelings exist as characters inside our heads. The main character Riley is depicted in this poster as a large open eye where we can see the feelings at their motherboard table inside her head.
Which of these minimalist movie posters is your favorite? Any redesigns you think should appear in this list? Let me know in the comments section below!
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