Brain Pickings

Retro Revival: Vintage Posters for Modern Movies

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Helvetica, Hitchcock and what Saul Bass can teach J.J. Abrams about mystery.

The retro revival design trend has been around for a while, but over the past few months we’ve seen one particularly interesting and wonderful niche manifestation — vintage-inspired, retrostalgic posters for modern television and film. Here are seven of our favorites, plus some extras.

HEXAGONALL

A few days ago, we tweeted a delightful what-if: Spanish digital creative Hexagonall‘s vision for what Tron and Lost opening sequences would’ve looked like if the iconic Saul Bass had designed them.

It gets better: Hexagonall has an entire poster series under the Tron vs. Saul Bass umbrella — and they’re all fantastic.

And despite curmudgeonly remarks disputing whether Saul Bass would approve of these, we think what’s important here, and what Bass would certainly approve of, is the fact that almost half a century after his heyday, his visual heritage is still being celebrated and is still a force of inspiration. What more could a creator ask for?

TY MATTSON

Speaking of Lost and past Twitter raves, these fab vintagey Lost posters by designer Ty Mattson are an absolute treat.

Our favorite: This distinctly Saul Bassean hand.

OLLY MOSS

Count on one of our favorite illustrators, Olly Moss, to reimagine iconic film posters with brilliant vintage-inspired minimalism.

His Films in Black and Red series is a piece of quiet genius.

Bonus points for the mandatory Helvetica overuse.

NICK TASSONE

In another bout of brilliant minimalism, designer Nick Tassone reimagines his 10 favorite Stephen King films.

The only downside: All this slick and stylish designerliness makes the films appear considerably less creepy, which makes them technically counterproductive.

TAVIS COBURN

After BAFTA (the British Academy for Film and Television Arts) announced this year’s nominees, London-based designer Tavis Coburn set out to illustrate each of the films as unspeakably gorgeous vintage-inspired posters.

Needless to say, we’re back to the age-old question of why everything is better in Britain.

BRANDON SCHAEFER

Designer Brandon Schaefer may be only 25, but he’s got a knack for the vintage aesthetic that he employs brilliantly in his retrofied posters for modern movies.

The collection also includes Schaefer’s reenvisionings for older, iconic movies, like Rear Window and Star Wars.

TOM WHALEN

Tom Whalen has some classically vintage renditions of contemporary horror and scifi films, in a style that’s both recognizably retro and distinctly his own.

BONUS

Also of note: Penney Design reimagines modern movies as vintage games; the brilliant I Can Read Movies has been around for some time now, but it never ceases to amaze and amuse with its assortment of vintagey film-based mock book covers; Ibraheem Youssef’s has a delightfully vintage-minimalist take on Quentin Tarantino movies; though not designed as posters, these typographic covers for the new digitally remastered box set of Hitchcock films are just as indulgent; speaking of, British designer Matt Needle’s Modern Hitchcock series is utterly fabulous.

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