The minimalist poster for Mark Levinson’s documentary about the Large Hedron Collider, the dreams of scientists involved in the project and the public fears triggered by it. Featuring the electromagnetic spectrum as a round coloured circle, all wiry, with a black middle, the poster draws on particle collision and the possibility of LHC creating a black hole. As it happens with minimalist design, the effect is created with basic elements and a witty idea, perfectly adequate to Particle Fever and its quest to explore elementary particles.
2014 has proved a remarkable year for documentaries, and this has transposed in posters, too; quite a handful of non-fiction films have interesting posters featuring inventive design and catchy visuals, as proven by the pictures below.
Beautifully drawing on Constructivist art, these posters could have been designed by Rodchenko, yet it is done by La Boca design studio from London. Created for a documentary about the Red Army hockey team, the poster glorifies the players, much like Soviet design used to do with the Soviet man. Hinting to the propaganda involved in a communist regime (but, also in signing people up for the hockey team), La Boca piece is very much anchored in the film reality, with its chromatic field, font and rough cuts.
Created by Empire Design for Ayoade’s second feature, the campaign featured both photographic and illustrated posters. Created by John Calvert, the above illustrated version manages to successfully integrate a film noir aesthetic (Calvert has claimed Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps as an inspiration) with expressionist visuals. The poster graphics, reminiscent of Lang’s Metropolis set and poster design, succeed in creating the noir effect of shadows and diffuse light.
Three of the year’s most exciting and poetic film posters come from European productions. They all have in common a visual mastery, evoking a soft atmosphere, but a disturbing substance.
Black Coal, Thin Ice
The winner of this year Golden Berlin Bear proved to be an exquisite study of a murder mystery case, with a unique atmosphere and a great acting display. The grim feeling of this neo-noir is transferred in the posters which play nicely with elements from the title (coal, ice) connected with the murders. The love interest is hinted at with the two shadows and hands, but it is not made a central point. The message conveyed in the graphics gets stronger with the watching of the film, for the viewer can make sense of all the elements portrayed in the posters, while enjoying two visually enthralling pieces.
The minimalist touch
Minimalist graphic design proves a perfect solution for a great range of genres, from an action packed sci-fi piece to a musical drama.
Godzilla (Ignition). The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (Gravillis Inc). Whiplash (cold open)
The following posters have resorted to colours and a particular pattern in achieving an eye-candy design; from the star-studded poster (and film) of Wes Anderson to the social and architectural mosaic of Caracas’s neighbourhoods, the posters share a visual richness and a hopeful aesthetic.
Pelo Malo. The Selfish Giant (AllCity). The Grand Budapest Hotel (BLT Communications)
Powered by Neil Kellerhouse: Under the Skin & Gone Girl
As usual, Kellerhouse manages to give two genuine pieces for some of the most surprising films of year 2014, providing an appropriate mood for both Glazer’s sci-fi fable and Fincher’s drama-mystery piece.
The world of Studio Ghibli
Like the films themselves, the posters embed the storyline with great attention to details. From the watercolour visuals of The Tale of Princess Kaguya to the pastel range of The Wind Rises, the poster art offers a disturbing lightness and a carefully crafted emotional land.
A bonus for movie poster lovers, here is a video of Neil Kellerhouse discussing the process of designing the poster for Under the Skin.