A Trend In Movie Posters

A little over a year ago, I wrote this post, on my favorite movie marketing. Since then, I’ve noticed a new movie poster trend, one that I really like and want to call attention to, because these posters are awesome!

The trend is: black silhouettes with a uniformly colored background. Instead of a still or an actor, these posters consist of a single simplified image. Even more than the image, my favorite aspect is the color itself. Since the posters only use black, white, and a single solid color, the color (usually bold and vibrant) jumps out like crazy and does really powerful things. And ever since seeing Kieslowski’s Colors Trilogy, I have been obsessed with color in film. When done right, it adds a whole new layer, intense and meaningful and powerful and I love it!

Here are some examples, some of the posters I’m talking about:

killing them softly

Starting out with the simplest one of the bunch, and one of my favorites. I never saw this movie but I absolutely love the poster. So clean and elegant. Beautiful use of space too, I love how the bullet streak aligns with the text and also how it isn’t perfectly straight, like it was hand drawn.

choke one sheet 2

Simple, weird, kind of silly, definitely provocative. I’m not a huge fan of this image, since I don’t feel it actually makes me want to see the film, but it is an interesting choice nonetheless.


I love how the girl is fractured into pieces. Completely represents the character and says so much. Not so sure about the hand reaching up between her legs, where her privates would be. Not sure what that is supposed to mean.

django unchained

Part of Tarantino’s genius is his ability to create highly marketable films and then marketing them phenomenally. He also loves color in his films (see his use of yellow in Kill Bill and of course all the character names in Reservoir Dogs), so it’s no surprise he has a poster in this collection, and it’s no surprise that it is a really awesome one.


This is the only poster in this style I could find that actually contains an actor’s face. And not just any actor, but a recognizable one too. In my opinion, presenting it this way makes the poster much more interesting. Very well done.

how to survive a plague

Really effective use of color here. Not just creating a mood, but it is also symbolic, creating meaning above and beyond what the color represents. This poster uses the least amount of color in this collection, but arguably gets the most out of it.

in the loop

Don’t know much about this film and I don’t really think the poster is using the technique as well as others are, but it does feature the color blue, one of the only posters in this style to do so. EDIT: Saw the film and it was great. Though I still don’t think this image sells it very well.


Another blue poster, this one kind of feels like the cover of a book that would be assigned in middle school. Not sure how I feel about it. However, I love how those trees look silhouetted the way they are. Very beautiful.


I’m cheating here, since this is a fan made poster, not a studio one. There are lots of fan made minimalist movie posters out there, I think from people trying to break into professional poster designing. In my opinion, most of them are ineffective because they require you to have seen the film to understand the poster, and the purpose of a movie poster is to convince audiences to see a film they haven’t seen yet. This poster however, is an exception; a phenomenal image, simple and powerful, and although it doesn’t display boxing, it still manages to capture the essence of the film nicely.


I’m cheating on this one too, for obvious reasons. But since he is buried, one could argue that the black is the silhouette of the ground he is buried in. Whatever, It doesn’t matter, any way you look at it, this is one fantastic poster.


This one made my jaw drop. Escher inspired, combining the two biggest staples of B-movie horror (well, two biggest other than pretty girls). I don’t expect much from the film, but this is one of the best posters I’ve ever seen.


Another horror film. This doesn’t do as much for me as the previous one, but the design is striking and since it is a clear example of black silhouette on a solid color, it obviously belongs in this collection.


This poster dates back to 2004, the earliest example I could find in this style. I remember everyone talking about this poster when it came out, myself included. It is a wonderful design, very ahead of its time.

anatomy of a murder

Okay, what I just said about Sideways, I lied. This poster, from Anatomy of a Murder, is the real earliest example of this style I could find, dating back to 1959! It is considered to be one of the greatest movie posters of all time, and deservedly so. And actually, if you look at Saul Bass’s entire collection, you’ll find that he used this style in all his posters, way before anyone else did. Mr. Bass, you are the man!

Well, that’s it! I only did a brief search, and these were the posters I found. I’m sure there are more, so send them to me and I will post them!


About Gabriel Bruskoff
I make movies! See gabrielbruskoff.com for more information.

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