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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory