Meet the new pin-ups: TV billboards and movie posters reinvented

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Young designers are reinventing hackneyed television billboards and movie posters online, with striking results.

Modern movie posters tend to follow a fairly banal formula: cram every last bit of information about the film, its plot and the identity of its stars into the available space and hope for the best.

Even the colour schemes are hackneyed: red and white for rom-coms, or cool blue juxtaposed with explosive orange for action blockbusters. So where are the design descendants of classic movie poster artists such as Saul Bass or Bob Peak?

As with most things, the answer can be found online. Recently, there has been a spate of minor viral sensations featuring alternative posters for classic movies – all of them in a retro, almost minimalist style. The blogger Spacesick, for instance, made faux 1960s book covers for films from Blade Runner to Teen Wolf (which you can see at goo.gl/1clj). Brandon Schaefer has a Flickr gallery full of retro takes on The Dark Knight, The Rocketeer and more ( goo.gl/TEiY).

And then there are the examples shown on these pages. Their internet popularity is easily explicable: film is one of the web's favourite subjects, and most of the posters are witty, one-line inside jokes – which people love to share. For the designers themselves, the posters are perfect portfolio-boosters. After seeing Olly Moss's brilliant black, white and red redesigns of posters for Die Hard and The Great Dictator (at ollymoss.com and flickr.com/photos/ollym). Penguin Books art director Jim Stoddart hired him to create book covers.

"What I admired was his conceptual thinking," says Stoddart. "He can take a complex idea and visualise it simply. His posters reminded me of 1960s Penguin covers by designers like Derek Birdsall, who could sum up complicated non-fiction concepts in one simple visual joke. In the design world, excessive flim-flam is rarely in fashion. One of the most desirable disciplines in design is to pare things down to their essence. With film art, we've become used to seeing every scene, every character, every aspect of the film in a single poster – that goes back to Gone with the Wind or Star Wars. But these alternative posters look charming in a way that commercial posters can't. And part of their charm is their integrity; they demonstrate real knowledge of the films."

Albert Exergian

Exergian, a professional designer from Austria, says that he'd planned for some time to begin a personal project that wouldn't force him to conform to a client's brief. He loved television, and had never seen anyone creating posters for his favourite shows. "I started in December by designing a poster for 'Dexter'. When I had 10 posters I put them on my website and they just took off. I'd started a Tumblr blog in November with six followers. Now I have 2,500! The images were only meant to be for my website, but people from around the world emailed me to ask for copies, so I had them made into prints.

"I only designed posters for shows that I knew and loved. The icon I used for each poster had to be something that you'd only recognise if you'd actually seen the show. It's like an inside joke. I've done 50 and that's enough for now – but if I find another great TV show then I may release another series."

Exergian.com ; Blanka.co.uk/Art/Exergian

Tavis Coburn

Toronto-based Coburn was commissioned by BAFTA to produce posters based on this year's Best Film nominees. "Most of my work has a vintage feel," he explains. "I gravitate towards strong, simple images. The only idea BAFTA rejected was my original 'Precious' poster, which was a crushed prom queen tiara. They felt it should be more human."

The eventual BAFTA winner was, of course, 'The Hurt Locker'. "I loved the bomb-disposal suit that the hero wears," says Coburn of his interpretation. "I wanted to make it look claustrophobic in there: hot, sweaty and incredibly dangerous."

goo.gl/QaHJ

Nick Tassone

Tassone is a 22-year-old design major at Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate New York. As part of a project for his course, he put together a series of minimalist posters for films based on Stephen King's novels. "Modern movie posters mainly consist of shots from the movie with some boring text slapped on top," he says. "I wanted to take some complex movies and make the posters as minimal as I could. The posters that Saul Bass produced in the 60s and 70s were so striking, and I really wanted to emulate that by using just one object per poster.

"The whole project took me about a week. The culture blog at 'New York Magazine' picked it up, and then Edgar Wright [director of 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Hot Fuzz'] tweeted about it. It was pretty strange to see a director I've respected for a while say that he wants a poster I designed. I've had the 'Carrie' poster screen-printed to sell online. I'd love to print them all, but I can't afford it at the moment!"

Work.beecombs.com

Ibraheem Youssef

Youssef studied fine art in Cairo, then advertising in Toronto before returning to his first love, design. Just after Christmas, he released a set of posters on his website, based on the films of Quentin Tarantino. "I think of them as a reward to fans who appreciate Tarantino's movies," he says. "Film trailers give away far too much, and I wanted to produce an antidote – to give away the whole movie, but in a very coy way. I did it for fun, thinking they'd look cool on my wall.

"At the time my Flickr page was getting something pathetic like three hits per day. I woke up the next day with 2,000, and the day after that it was 32,000. In January I had about 500,000 hits on my website. I had an email three weeks ago from the international director of advertising for Universal-NBC. I thought, 'Oh please don't sue me!' But he asked to use my 'Inglourious Basterds' poster as part of the film's worldwide marketing campaign. I even sent a package to Quentin himself." Youssef is now working on a set of alternative posters for Wes Anderson's films.

Ibraheemyoussef.com , flickr.com/photos/heemaz

Arts and Entertainment
Tate Modern chief Chris Dercon, who will be leaving to run a Berlin theatre company
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Tasos: 'I rarely refuse an offer to be photographed'
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Girls on the verge of a nervous breakdown: Florence Pugh and Maisie Williams star in 'The Falling'
Film
Arts and Entertainment
Legendary charm: Clive Owen and Keira Knightley in 2004’s ‘King Arthur’
FilmGuy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle the legend
Arts and Entertainment
Corporate affair: The sitcom has become a satire of corporate culture in general

TV review

Broadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: There are some impressive performances by Claire Skinner and Lorraine Ashbourne in Inside No. 9, Nana's Party spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Glastonbury's pyramid stage

Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair

Arts and Entertainment
Ewan McGregor looks set to play Lumiere in the Beauty and the Beast live action remake

Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere

Arts and Entertainment
Charlie feels the lack of food on The Island with Bear Grylls

TV

The Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Arts and Entertainment
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, in a scene from Avengers: Age Of Ultron
filmReview: A great cast with truly spectacular special effects - but is Ultron a worthy adversaries for our superheroes? spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Ince performing in 2006
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Beth (played by Jo Joyner) in BBC1's Ordinary Lies
tvReview: There’s bound to be a second series, but it needs to be braver spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, the presenters of The Great Comic Relief Bake Off 2015

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Harold Ramis' original Groundhog Day film, released in 1993

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury

music

Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas

film

Arts and Entertainment

music

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence