The movie poster is something that’s a cultural icon. We remember both the good ones and the bad ones, and some people even collect them.
Film is a powerful form of expression, so it’s only fitting that its print collateral should be impactful as well.
The following posters are well-designed and in a vintage style. Some themselves are old, while others just look that way.
1. Although 'Psycho' came out many years ago, there’s a really fresh collage-esque element to its poster. Vera Miles looks pasted into the fractured frame, and the visual color connection between her and Psycho is really smart.
2. This abstract depiction of 'Ghostbusters' is very subtle. We hardly see Slimer in the middle!
3. Considering how epic this film was, this poster is understated and beautiful in its simplicity. The distressed coloring gives it an old feel.
4. I’m biased - Alfred Hitchcock is one of my favorite directors and 'Vertigo' one of my favorite films. But just look at this design! It’s mysterious and very intriguing.
5. Like 'Vertigo,' this image for 'Ferris Bueller’s Day Off' uses orange in its design. While we see the tiny figure is running from a giant hand, the tone of the orange and gray is very similar. It doesn’t exactly feel calm, but it's not frenzied either.
6. So maybe the photography on the 'Barbarella' poster isn’t the greatest, but the electric-colored background creates a very interesting contrast against Jane Fonda’s character.
7. 'The Princess Bride' was a film produced in the late '80s, and the original movie poster showed it. I much prefer the bold stylings of this reimagined image, which captures some of the fun and adventure that the film is known for.
8. I love the juxtaposition we see in this poster. Audrey Hepburn, dressed in black, is so energetic compared to her demure pink portrait in the background.
9. 'Captain America' is a recent film, but because it takes place in the 1940s, it was appropriately completed in the popular illustrative style of the time. Very smart.
10. 'Inception' was a concept-heavy film. I like how this mid-century style movie poster distills it into a simplified idea.
11. A classic movie illustrated in a unique way. I like that this poster makes 'Scream' appear as a film noir.
12. This is a great composition! The knotted film strip makes for a very dynamic visual element.
13. If you loved the Pixar/Disney film 'Up', then you’ll appreciate the tribute to the movie in this vintage style. They reference old travel posters and advertisements to visit the great outdoors.
14. Like many movie posters of yesteryear, illustrated actors and actresses played a big part. The delightful film 'Amelie' was given a similar treatment with a retro-feeling font.
Better with age
So what makes a great poster? I think it’s boiling the movie down to its essence and putting it in an abbreviated form. A lot of what you see here is of a mid-century, modern style: bold colors, shapes and dynamic compositions.
Others feature fully-fully rendered characters from the film, but even then, the design goes beyond just photographed or painted faces. There’s another element, a little extra oomph, such as the knotted film strip of “Sunset Boulevard.”
Ready to make your own classic style movie poster? Check out our recommended poster printing companies and get designing!