CREDIT: Ibraheem Youssef’s ‘Reservoir Dogs’



The most artful and memorable movie posters in recent years are not designs but redesigns by fans and graphic designers not on the Hollywood payroll.


Most modern movie posters are boring. Bad Photoshop jobs are one thing, the actors looking like cardboard cutouts, faces airbrushed and alien-like, but the worst offence is the uninspired recycling of design tropes. Christophe Courtois via Buzzfeedrecently compiled the laziest movie poster cliches. They include floating disembodied heads, actors jauntily standing back-to-back, and the black, white and fire colour scheme. Seeing twenty examples of a single tired idea in one place highlights the lack of originality in current movie poster design. 

There are exceptions, like this lovely one-sheet for Black Panther drama Night Catches Us. But this kind of graphic poster is often done in an old-school style, referencing the iconic designer Saul Bass, which is itself a trope that has perhaps grown stale (see also Burn After Reading and Last Life in the Universe).


The most interesting film posters of the past few years are redesigns for classic and cult films by fans and graphic designers not on the studio payroll. They are often more artful and memorable than the official posters, even if Tom Cruise showing the right side of his face remains more saleable.



Peter Strain


CREDIT: Peter Strain’s ‘Being John Malkovich’


Illustrator Peter Strain has redesigned posters for cult films like Pan’s Labyrinth and The Life Aquatic. His bold and beautiful posters tend to focus on a single character, object or moment, like the Polaroid camera from Memento, capturing the essence of the films perfectly.


Strain is exhibiting his work at the Queen’s Film Theatre Belfast from 11th-24th November, admission is free. Prints are available through his website by following the link to shop.




Grischa Stanjek



CREDIT: Grischa Stanjek’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’

Artist Grischa Stanjek has gone even more minimal than Strain, reducing films to a single object – a bleeding ear for Reservoir Dogs, a cutthroat razor for Un Chien Andalou, and a glass of milk for A Clockwork Orange – set against a plain background.




Fake Criterions


CREDIT: vargtimmen (on Tumblr)’s ‘Love and Death’


Criterion Collection DVDs are like fetish objects, and they are cherished in part because of their beautifully designed covers. Aficionados have designed their own Criterion DVD covers, compiled at Fake Criterions, lavishing more artistry on covers for White Chicks and Freddy Got Fingered than these films probably deserve.



Here are a few more examples of reimagined posters by talented graphic designers Ibraheem Youssef, Brandon Schaefer, and Chris Thornley.



Ibraheem Youssef



CREDIT: Ibraheem Youssef’s ‘Pulp Fiction’




Brandon Schaefer



CREDIT: Brandon Schaefer’s ‘Le Samourai’




Chris Thornley



CREDIT: Raid 71





By Mark Wright (Assistant Editor)



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