Tag Archives: posters

Beautifully Designed Gig Posters

Usually, when designing something, you’re faced with a whole load of constraints and limitations. But it’s not always the case when you’re designing a gig poster – those constraints are often lifted and you’re allowed to be much more creative and expressive with your art.

Gig posters in particular add a new level of challenge, because they often need to sum up the mood of the music, as well as the style of the band – which are usually things that are far too complex to put into words. Gig posters, when done right, can be works of art in themselves, and it’s not unusual to see them selling for a high price on eBay after the event.

We’ve decided to showcase a selection of amazingly designed gig posters that highlight incredible work from some very talented artists. We hope they inspire you for your next poster project.


Modest Mouse

Vampire Weekend

LCD Soundsystem


The Shins

Cold War Kids

Broken Social Scene

Arctic Monkeys


Explosions in the Sky

Andrew Bird

The Elephant Six Orchestra

The Gaslight Anthem

The Flaming Lips

Eye Popping Prints by K17GRAFX

We’ve recently had the privilege of being able to stock some amazing illustrative prints by K17GRAFX on Picmix Store!

All of the following prints are available at the store at £10 each, although some of which are in the current £6 sale! You can also get 10% off using the code exclusive to this blog – just enter “CIRCLEBOX” at checkout.

Design Trends Used In Action Movie Posters from 1960-2010

Movie posters are one of my favourite sources of inspiration, and I love to look at how they have developed over the decades. In this post, we will be looking at how the designs of action movie posters have changed since the 1960′s. You’ll find one poster per year so we can closely monitor the changes, and a small selection of current trends that we’re going to be seeing over the next year (2010) or so.

Action movie posters in general are typically very interesting – captured images of fight scenes, guns, explosions and of course the odd flash of naked flesh are all things that express action films well. The design of a movie poster is commonly underestimated – even with the internet and social media sites, posters are still one of the most effective ways of advertising a new blockbuster film, whether they be up high in the sky on billboards, at bus stops or in the form of canvas prints on the wall of your favourite bar.

The 1960′s

The 60′s saw lots of washed-out colors and off-whites, which is actually inspiring thousands of graphic and web designers in this modern tech world. With hundreds of high-quality textures available on the net, ‘vintage’ effects like the ones seen in these posters can easily be recreated.

There is a lack of photography in the posters from the 60′s for obvious reasons – but paint and various printing techniques were so good that, to us modern day designers, it’s incredibly inspiring.

The Alamo (1960)

The Frightened City (1961)

Hatari! (1962)

The Great Escape (1963)

007: Goldfinger (1964)

007: Thunderball (1965)

The Wild Angels (1966)

A Fistful of Dollars (1967)

A Dandy in Aspic (1968)

The Wild Bunch (1969)

The 1970′s

Painted posters were still a big thing in the 70′s, although we do a see several more photos being used in ‘The Towering Inferno’ and ‘Rocky’ as technology progresses. Bordered posters, especially thick, off-white ones, were still be used regularly in the 70′s, a trend that had been used for decades already.

The use of white space is also something that was developed and put into practice in the 70′s, which is still a huge aspect of design to-date.

Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

The Big Doll House (1971)

The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

Papillon (1973)

The Towering Inferno (1974)

Hard Times (1975)

Rocky (1976)

A Bridge Too Far (1977)

Superman (1978)

Apocalypse Now (1979)

The 1980′s

The 80′s seemed to see several hit sci-fi action movies, bring along with them plenty of awesome effects which, at the time, were very futuristic. In fact, a couple of the sci-fi action posters such as ‘Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Aliens’ saw effects being used that still feel relatively modern almost thirty years later.

Three-dimensional and stroked typography (titles) is also something that the world saw more of in the 80′s as the digital world started to come to life.

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Bladerunner (1982)

007: Octopussy (1983)

The Terminator (1984)

Ran (1985)

Aliens (1986)

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Die Hard (1988)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

The 1990′s

The 90′s was the, to most of us, the beginning of digital technology. Although computers and digital editing software was previously available, it was incredibly expensive and most people wouldn’t even know where to start. Because of this, the 90′s saw some terribly designed movie posters, especially from the very low-budget films. The selection of 90′s action hits below, however, had a slightly larger budget than most and therefore a better range of posters. I especially like the ‘Independence Day’ and ‘The Matrix’ posters.

Die Hard 2 (1990)

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

Alien 3 (1992)

The Fugitive (1993)

Speed (1994)

Braveheart (1995)

Independence Day (1996)

Air Force One (1997)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

The Matrix (1999)

The 2000′s

The millennium. The future. The birth of affordable yet brilliant digital technology. The year kick-started with a great grungy-style poster from the ‘Gladiator’ movie. The joys of photography and realistic photo-manipulation skills brought us some incredible posters, some of my personal favorites being ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ and ‘The Dark Knight’. All of these posters are easily reconizable, achieving exactly what a poster is set out to do – promote.

Gladiator (2000)

Rush Hour 2 (2001)

Spiderman (2002)

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

Sin City (2005)

300 (2006)

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

The Dark Knight (2008)

Avatar (2009)

2010: Current Trends

Ten years on from the millennium and maybe we’re pushing it a bit and relying far too much on the likes of Adobe Photoshop. Although the composition of the posters are good, as can be seen from the posters ‘The Bounty Hunter’ and ‘Takers’, manipulation skills, especially those used on the heads of characters, are quite obviously faked. In ‘Takers’, some of the actors heads are clearly oversized.

Surely setting up a studio to take professional photographs doesn’t cost too much more than getting professional editors to manipulate them, especially when a scene is actually more than possible? Manipulation as severe as this is fine if you expect a dragon to have a human head whilst flying through bursts of flames, but they’re not! Let’s hope these ‘trends’ or rather ‘faults’ don’t stick around too long!

The Book of Eli (2010)

Legion (2010)

From Paris With Love (2010)

The Bounty Hunter (2010)

Takers (2010)

(Source: IMP Awards)

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The Top (Incredible) Film Posters of 2009

The Top (Incredible) Film Posters Of 2009

I wanted to do something different to all the other ‘top 2009′ posts about and base one on film posters instead. We all love film posters, it’s a known fact. In this top of 2009 post we have 28 beautiful, incredible and inspiring movie posters.

There’s nothing better than a poster that actually suggests the kind of film genre it is. I know, I know, “never judge a book by it’s cover”… Luckily enough, however, these aren’t books! Films always have been and (hopefully) always will be good at making their posters relate to the films storyline.

What one is your favorite and why?


This simplistic poster uses a fantastic composition and makes great use of white space, leading your eyes into the beautiful photography, elegant slogan and the image-based movie title.

Bitch Slap

The grungy colors and border really suggests the type of movie this is (and I’ve never seen it!). The comic strip style movie title has been composed very well and also suggests there is some humor in the film, which most of us always like!

Blood: The Last Vampire

Although some of the blood splatters seem a little unrealistic, I love the overall feel and look to the poster. Simple techniques such as motion blurs and layer masks have been used to produce a three-dimensional look.

Brief Interviews With Hideous Men

The washed out and grungy feel to the poster is what attracted me to this one in the first place. I love the old-processed look and the way the cast of the movie is presented in a comical way.


We all love photo manipulations, so this one deserved a spot. Great techniques have been used to combine photographs and edit lighting and colors in this poster. I especially like the vintage style border.

Cake Eaters

The empty (cloud) space in the center of the poster leaves you with an open mind, making you wonder what the film could actually be based on. The simple, dark typography makes this a pleasant and easy to digest poster, the watercolor subtle grungy effect used in the top right of the poster just tops it off – the cherry on the top.

Cloud With A Chance Of Meatballs

I couldn’t resist but to include this in the showcase. Ever since seeing it full-size on the side of Vue cinema the image and name of the movie has just stuck in my mind – just what a poster is meant to do. I’ll let you make your own minds up with this one!

Couples Retreat

This simple but comical film really stands up to the movie (which is superb, by the way!). The use of a strong color scheme taken from the hills and mountains in the backgrounds and the ocean is used in opposite areas of the poster (blue from ocean used in text in sky, and orange from hills use in text in the ocean) works really well and makes the poster read much easier.

Did You Hear About The Morgans

You can’t get much more simplistic than this! At least 80% of this poster is made up of pure white, making it easy to read, stand out from a mile away and it’s all topped off with some nice typography and very bright yellow cab… and a bull!

District Nine

I was shocked when I saw this film just a couple of weeks ago, I do wish I saw it in the cinema though! The posters (there are quite a few of them) are all great, but this one is the one that particular stood out for me when choosing one. I love the grungey background, the realistic bullet holes and of course the silhouette of the so called Alien!

Dungeon Masters

Another very simple poster but one that uses several trends of the year 2009. Simple vectors, limited colors and vertical typography, strange but quite cool!


The simple and subtle use of grunge in the background of this texture sets the whole thing off and makes it come to life. The barbed wire silhouette on the movie title is a great little touch and has great attention to detail.


You know what I”m going to say… GRUNGE! We all love it. This is actually quite a freaky poster, too, but it’s minimalistic grungy feel just had to secure it a place in this showcase.

Haunting In Connecticut

Another simple poster with lots of noise, a dark color scheme and dark grungy type. The way this would make most people feel however is the main reason it has made my top posters of 2009. They most definitely got the slogan right: “Some things cannot be explained”.

I Love You Beth Cooper

This film is one of the ones this year that had me in tears of laughter several time, it’s one of those you either love it or hate it movies.. I loved it, and there’s a great hand-drawn poster to go with it!

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Without the white space in this poster it wouldn’t be the same. The comical look on their faces is sure to make everyone laugh, if not at least a little grin. For that reason is why it is here.

In A Dream

I’d never seen this poster before, or heard of the film, until researching films from 2009. The hand-drawn collage(y) poster has a wonderful natural look to it, which I’ve been staring at for over an hour now (only joking, but almost!).

In The Loop

If you’ve ever said something along the lines of “vectors are just to clean” this is where you should be taking that line back. This is a brilliant example of where vector images DON’T need texture. I have nothing against texture, though!


The glowing sci-fi style in this poster is what space scenes are all about. The realistically of the burned letters coming from the center of the earth makes me wish I knew who designed it – I’d love for him to write a tutorial for Circlebox!

Monsters vs Aliens

Just like the Ice Age poster, Monsters vs Aliens uses white space to its advantage. The 3D text is great, too!


Every designer has to love this poster, it actually makes me want to design icons! There is one other great thing however, looking carefully you’ll notice icons of the iPod control wheel, sunglasses, a toothbrush, a paperclip and various other objects spell ‘Objectified’. Can you spot it?


You know why I chose this one… 3 colors, vector images, and a brilliant composition. You must be able to spot this one on a bus from several miles away!

Order of Chaos

The composition of this is the reason it has been chosen. I just love it! I’ll have to try something like this one day.

Soundtrack For A Revolution

Colors, typography, monochromatic image, more typography.. Wow! It can be a little difficult to read I admit, but the overall look is fantastic and I’m sure a lot of you will agree with me.

Star Trek XI

The simplicity of this poster is what makes it work. Minimal typography (there aren’t many posters about these days with no highlighted cast areas) and simple motion blurs are the center and outer of this poster.

The Brothers Bloom

The English version of this poster just wasn’t as good, this one however is superb. I love the antique, vintage look as I’m sure a lot of you will know from my vintage showcases all around the design community.

This Is It

Although I think this shouldn’t have been released as a movie, it’s what it is classed as and it uses some great manipulation techniques and has a attention grabbing color scheme.

Where The Wild Things Are

This looks like a very (very) strange film, but I’m going to have to watch it at some point in my life. The composition of this a long with the hand-drawn text and mouthful of tree missing in the background are my favorite parts… I know, that’s almost the whole poster!

So what is your favorite poster of 2009? It doesn’t have to be on this list!

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The Evolution of Movie Posters: 67 Years of Old and New

Most of us designers have a thing for movie posters; both old and new. This post compares posters to original movies and later remakes of the same story. For example, one of the posters shown below is Flight of the Phoenix; we’ll be looking at the differences between the original artwork of the 1965 film, and the modern artwork in the much more recent 2004 remake film.

Oh, before I start, I apoligise for any pixelated posters – some weren’t as easy to find as I though!

The Movie Posters!

14 Going on 30 / 13 Going on 30


This is one movie I didn’t actually know was remade until I researched the subject of movie remakes! 14 Going on 30 is a very simple poster, made up of a single photography and a simple blue and red header with a white drop shadow.


I love the use of the photograph of Jennifer Garner in this movie poster – the bright colours and well-executed dress blowing in the ‘wind’ really draws your eyes into the poster. Although I like the poster overall, I think the low opacity ’13 going on 30′ could have been much better with a high opacity and no use of bevel and emboss!

Amityville Horror


The original Amityville Horror movie is one I haven’t seen – although I have seen the remake! I’m not sure whether the film stands up to the poster, but I think the poster is superb! It’s out of focus, pixelated and burning orange tinted background really compliments the bold white typography and black and white cast images. Michael Bay later went on to remake this classic, it was pretty good too.


The remakes poster, too, is great, and really stands up to the quality of the first, 26 years on! I guess that shows how good the first was! I love the grungy style with this, and how the only source of light is coming from the centre of the poster.



Annie is just one of these posters where the original is always the best. The poster is incredibly simplistic, a great traditional photograph with some great simple typography. The thing that makes it all work together is the perfect off-white background.


This is a huge let down compared to the previous poster, which was designed 17 years earlier! Ignoring the pixelation, the typography is pretty awful, the photograph a little too cheesy for most peoples likings and I’m quite sure the shadow at the bottom of the poster makes everything worse!

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman


This is one of my favourite vintage posters I’ve seen, no matter just on this list, and I know I’m not alone when I say that! I’ve seen a lot of designers and artists be inspired by this great movie poster, and have seen several modern vector illustrations of it around the web! The colours are superb, the typography incredibly simple but great, and the composition overall is brilliant.


This poster is proof of the terrible 90′s design trends, which is probably where the early web design trends were picked up from! The incredibly cheesy and unrealistic photo-manipulation merged with terrible typography (it feels a shame to call it that) and what look like Microsoft Word comic style text boxes is a shame, especially as a reproduction of the original movie poster with newer technology could have, and should have turned out great.

Black Christmas


I like this original Black Christmas poster, although in places it feels a little incomplete, such as the bottom of the holly all of a sudden comes to a halt and hits black. I like the combination of greyscale and colour though, and the mini black and white illustration at the bottom of poster is pretty sweet!


This is a great poster, and I feel ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ poster (which isn’t actually going to be feautured in this post – another time maybe!) was greatly influenced by this. The use of Christmas lights to look like barbwire, plenty of grunge and some awesome lighting effects makes this a superb design! I think I may have to watch this this Christmas to get me in the festive mood!!

Cat in the Hat: The Movie


These two posters aren’t really something that can easily be compared – in a way they’re both animated, but in entirely different ways! I love this illustration though, it can’t get much simpler, but the bright colours, innocent illustration and great hand-drawn typography is a win!


I like the composition in this poster – the animation is great, and I love the way the wooden chest has been used to lead your eyes into the centre of the poster.

Charlotte’s Web


Again, these two posters are hard to compare as the movie went from cartoon to real-life. This version, however, uses great traditional illustration techniques and a superb colour scheme. I love the warm feel the poster has to it, created by the magnificent gradient in the background.


I’m not a huge fan of bevelled text, but in this case it’s great! The lighting effect from the moon is incredibly realistic, at least it’s as realistic as it can get!

Roxie Hart / Chicago


This one is a traditional vintage poster! Great photography, superb typography, elegant shadows and lovely textures combined – I love this style!


This poster does its job incredibly well – I love the overall glow the poster has, the composition and colours in the photograph is great, and the city skyline in the background, for me, completes the great poster. If there’s one thing I could change, it would have to be the randomly placed cast names – not too sure why they’re not aligned nicely!

Dark Water


A film that obviously didn’t do to well as it was remade just 3 years later! The poster could have been great, but the incredibly cheesy ‘effect’ used in the hood of the raincoat ruins it for me, and everybody else!


This one for me is a great poster – I love the rain in the bedroom and the overall fade between the darkness and the image. The typography is great – I love the effect used in the film title!

Flight of the Phoenix


Love, love, LOVE this poster. The colours, the composition, the shadows and the typography is just beautiful! Must I say anymore?


Another great poster, this time for the 2004 remake of the great film! I especially love the typography mixed with the great composition of the crash-landing aircraft, especially the way they make the title ‘Flight of the Phoenix’ easy to read even though a large portion of it is covered up, not everyone could pull that off!

Freaky Friday


I’ve never seen any of the original Freaky Fridays (there’s actually three, not just two!), but if they’re nearly as good as the latest remake I’m sure they’re great! This is a nice and simple poster which uses some pretty cool hand-drawn illustrations. I love the way they’ve avoided the norm and produced a horizontal poster rather than a portrait one!


I love this poster as much as the movie! Its great colour scheme and composition make for a brilliant, comical and eye-catching poster which can’t be missed! I love the way they’ve incorporated the ‘Get Your Freak On August 1st’ at the bottom of the post!

Friday the 13th


This dark illustrated poster really stands out from other posters from the same time period. I love the use of typography in this and empty space which works just as well as white space does in web design!


This is very difficult to compare to the first, because it’s just so different. This has to be one of my all time favourites when it comes to modern posters, I love the dark, cloudly blue colour scheme, the grunginess of it all and the bright typography. It’s a great film, too!

Fun with Dick and Jane


For me, this is one of the worst posters here. I am no fan of the 100% opacity of the outer glow used on the movie title, nor am I a fan of the cheesy bokeh effect or rather boring photograph!


This is a hugely improved poster. The composition is good, and makes the movie seem pretty fun without even seeing a clip or trailer! The use of different font styles and colours in the title improves the poster a great deal, too.

Gone in 60 Seconds


I must admit, I never knew there was an original Gone in 60 Seconds film! I love the illustrated feel to the poster, the hand-drawn typography and the colour scheme. A nice bit of texture is in there too which really makes the poster come alive.


This great film makes use of some of my favourite things: bright, warm colours, a great composition, and plenty of noise and grunge. I love the way the photos have been merged together so well it makes it feel like one.



I’m not impressed with this poster – cheesy photos, cheesy typography and, lets be honest, a rather boring composition all in all. There’s not much else to say about this one!


I think this movie would have been no where near as popular had the poster not been so good. It’s colourful, funny, happy and just good fun. I say all these nice things, yet I haven’t seen the film and I’ll be honest, I don’t intend to – I’m not a fan of musicals! Top-notch poster, though!



A very simple poster, but it does have a great concept behind the whole pumpkin/knife illustration. I’m not a great fan of the italic ‘He’ though! Or any of the typography for that matter!


This poster is, lets face it, awesome! I love the photo manipulation in the background that, with some help from some cool shadows, forms the a portrait of the killer himself.

The Blue Lagoon


I know, it’s not English! I couldn’t find a good quality one that was! It’s a great poster nonetheless! I love the warm colours, the shadows and the hand-drawn typography.


This film I’ve actually seen, and I must say it’s pretty good, I enjoyed it at least! I love the warm colours and the silhouettes of the palm trees in the background of the poster. Nice pants!

The Day the Earth Stood Still


A truly unique vintage poster. I love the spacey atmosphere, the giant robot (thing) from out of space and the vintage typography. One of my favourites!


Another great poster, and one I really like! It’s beautiful colours and lighting effects form a stupidly realistic space atmosphere, and the shadows of the people and cars are unbelievable. To top it all off, the extremely clean and simple typography is superb!

The Fog


This one is almost formed completely from a pretty cool photography – there’s a reason that smoke is so realistic! It’s a little cheesy, but for an 80′s poster I’m pretty impressed with the overall lighting and effect.


A great poster formed purely from smoke – it’s complicated yet simple, all at the same time! The poster is probably the main reason I went to see this remake at the cinema on the day it came out!

The Getaway


Another case of the older poster wins! I love the illustrationsin this poster, especially the smoke and flame in the bottom right hand corner. The stenciled red text really helps the title of the film stand out from the rest of the typography, too.


A let down compared to the original poster – it’s quite cheesy, and in my opinion fairly boring!

Like this post? If yes, let me know! I’d love to keep up to date with more films as I am, or at least used to be, a hardcore movie fan – more posts like this will help me keep up to date with movies, so be sure to discuss the topic below!

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