Tag Archives: vintage

“We Are Not Time Travellers” Retro Posters

I stumbled upon this wonderful set of poster designs by Alex Varanese today, and I just had to share them in case you haven’t seen them before! The idea behind the series of posters was in response to a question: “What would you do if you could travel back in time?”. The designers response was recreate all the modern technology we have now in 2011, but restyle it so it fit in with technology style back in the 70′s. I hope you enjoy looking at these as much as I did!

If you have a great idea in mind for your very own poster series, this is a great example to follow. Imagine having your work on some awesome large canvas prints, and then you could set up your own web store. One great place to sell online is Shopify.

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 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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