Minimalist Movie Posters with Hidden Symbolism

While minimal designs in movie posters have always existed they seem to have come back with a vengeance in the last year. Especially online, where fans have been making revamped versions of posters using a minimalist style. They are expressive without being as busy as the traditional glossy, photomanipulated posters that we have always seen lining the outside of movie theaters for years.

Another popular style that is coming back in to style is symbolism. Rather than throwing the image into stark relief there are more subtle cues hidden within even the stark backgrounds of minimalist design. This makes for some great looks when it comes to movie posters, because they provide something a little different, but just as fun.

Here are ten examples of minimalist movie posters that use hidden symbolism to get their point across.

1. The Last Airbender

Minimalist Movie Posters

This has to be one of the most minimalist movie posters I have ever seen. It isn’t the impressive for minimalist design, but the use of an arrow is interesting. Anyone who has seen the M. Night Shyamalan film or the original Nickelodeon cartoon it is based on will recognize it. The arrow is the symbol that is placed on the head of the main protagonist, Aang.

2. Edward Scissorhands

Minimalist Movie Posters

This Tim Burton classic has remained one of the most beloved films of all time. But when you think of the posters for it you usually have images of Johnny Depp doing his best Robert Smith impression. This poster is a great one because it just gives the name and a simple image of two pair of scissors crossing. If you look more closely it even gives off the impression of being a hand.

3. The Color of Money

Minimalist Movie Posters

What I like about this poster is that it doesn’t follow the usual minimalist formula that minimalist movie posters do. While the way they present the color scheme and simple shapes and font are the same, the use of the name in a per-letter format with no bold title beneath is interesting. They also make it into billiard balls, which is great.

4. Inception

Minimalist Movie Posters

“We have to go deeper.” This has become a major pop culture pop phrase since the release of Inception earlier this year. A fantastic film, the poster is as complex as the movie itself, despite using the same minimal style of the others. The use of a head within a head within a head also correlates directly to the storyline, though you would have to see it to know it.

5. Scarface

Minimalist Movie Posters

Blood and cocaine…I am not sure that anything else explains Al Pacino’s legendary hit better than that. In this poster we see the hour glass signifying the years expressed in the film. The sand has been replaced by the same powder that Tony Montana consumes copious amounts of. It falls into the blood that is shed in the process of acquiring, using and transporting it. Not to mention the very human cost on a personal level that is a major focus of the story. Direct but expressive.

6. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Minimalist Movie Posters

Hats, mustaches and a noose make for a great poster. The use of color in the same grainy background as most minimalist designs is really helped here, because when you think of movies about the Old West you will inevitably thing of a lot of dirt, sand and beige. I love the top figure and the little protrusion from the mouth.

7. Titanic

Minimalist Movie Posters

I promise not to make any jokes about never letting go or being the King of any planetary mass. But I have to point out how awesome this poster is. The figure where the ship shows through might not be immediately recognizable, but after a few seconds you will realize it is an iceberg. The use of two types of mild blue create a line for the water to show where the bottom of the formation is under the ocean.

8. Jurassic Park

Minimalist Movie Posters

What I love about this poster is that it immediately takes me back to when I was watching this movie for the first time. I love that they put the glass on this poster and nothing else. Because anyone who has seen the movie knows what it is referring to.

9. Ratatouille

Minimalist Movie Posters

Look closely at the stars: They are made of cheese and there are bite marks take out of it. Since this film is about a rodent that becomes a famous chef while aiding a man who is a bumbling fool in the kitchen, it is a cute design.

10. Wall-E

Minimalist Movie Posters

This is possibly one of the cutest movies ever made. For those that don’t know, it is about a trash collecting robot left on Earth to clean up the huge amount of waste left behind by an intergalactic corporation. True to his directive, the the recycling sign on the poster is very clever. I think it is one of the better examples of minimalist designs with symbolism.

These are, of course, only a few examples. Symbolism is common with this type of style, because the whole idea is to imply rather than tell. What are some of your favorites?

Comments 6 Responses

    • bob January 23, 2012
  1. Yann July 15, 2011
  2. Kimberly July 19, 2011
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