2014_postersIt’s no secret that fan art and illustrated posters are starting to infect the film industry in a good way. These posters, while mostly from indie films, are a great representation of how people are getting smarter with how they sell new films. Of course, bigger film posters are all about product and not art, but these are posters that mix the two necessities, showing that it is possible to sell a product in a way that doesn’t forsake good ideas.

horns_poster_Ignition15. Ignition Print / Horns – This film was one of my most anticipated of the year. Given it’s tone, it was a tough film to market, being sold as too tweeny, or too silly for it’s own good. This piece is more in line with the film’s mystery and is a great image that grabs your attention immediately. I love the title design.

the-double-poster_Empire_Design14. Empire Design / The Double – Another film that could’ve been handled in a number of ways. I like this solution, not showing a generic composition of the obvious choice, but one that evokes the mood of the film, showing an oppressive city and one man lost in the spotlight.

guardians_of_the_galaxy_BLT_Communications13. BLT Communications / Guardians of the Galaxy – This was one of those tricky films to sell, about characters most people had never heard of before. In terms of superhero posters, this is a whole new beast. Classy photography, a cocky cast and a killer headline. Exactly the kind of brash, brave and confident poster the film deserved.

grand_piano_poster_The_Refinery12. The Refinery / Grand Piano – In the way that the film evokes Hitchcock, this poster is a throwback to something we might’ve seen for one of the master director’s films. There’s just a tiny bit of Saul Bass in the geometric shapes of the design, and it’s a nice middle ground between illustrated poster and photoshop montage – a prefect compromise that’s modern, yet classic.

nurse_3d_poster_Ignition_Tim_Palen11. Ignition Print (photography by Tim Palen) / Nurse 3D – Here’s one of my guilty pleasures of the year; it’s trashy, bright, loud like the film. This archetypal image of Paz de la Huerta photographed by Tim Palen is striking and irreverently funny.

inherent_vice_poster_BLT_Communications10. BLT Communications / Inherent Vice – All the illustrated posters where pretty good for this film, but this one has to be my favorite. It’s just a strange image that kinda makes no sense, yet hooks you in, just like the film itself.

gone_girl_kellerhouse9. Neil Kellerhouse / Gone Girl – Before the obligatory posters of the cast front and center, this moody, mysterious poster sold me on the film. Just like in his Social Network poster, Kellerhouse again messes with the format of the poster to make it look like a newscast, immediately drawing us in to the mystery of “Amazing Amy” without telling us anything. The type and the juxtaposition of the cloud are masterful.

coherence_poster_Juan_Luis_Garcia8. Juan Luis Garcia / Coherence – This is one of the best sci-fi films I’ve seen in a while. I discovered the poster after seeing the film, and fell in love with it. It’s a really difficult film to sell again, because you don’t want to know anything about it before seeing it. These bizarre objects that don’t belong together but perfectly put into place are a great metaphor for the film’s ideas of identity and the search thereof.

Akiko Stehrenberger_Under The Skin7. Akiko Stehrenberger / Under the Skin – This one should be higher on the list, but since it doesn’t offer anything too different from the actual poster (which also is a riff on ScarJo’s face), I’m putting it on this list solely for how beautiful it looks. Akiko has a diverse style that works in different mediums, and this poster is haunting in the best way.

venus_in_fur_poster_Gravillis6. Gravillis Inc / Venus In Fur – Another example of how you can say a lot with so little. Smart minimalism and a striking image that offers something sexy, mysterious and kinda dangerous. The poster promises something more cerebral in the way it makes us think about possibilities, rather than spelling it out for us.

starry_eyes_poster_Jay_Shaw5. Jay Shaw / Starry EyesStarry Eyes is film that builds on older classic ideas to create something modern. That’s exactly what Shaw has done in this piece, giving us an illustrated style that feels timeless yet new. Creepy done right.

borgman-poster_Brandon_Schaefer4. Brandon Schaefer / Borgman – I don’t envy Brandon Schaefer for having to come up with a way to represent this film visually. It’s strange one that’s hard to pin down, but he did it, creating the same type of intangible and unsettling emotion that’s woven throughout the film with this bizarre image. The second I saw this, I knew it was going to be one of the year’s best.

editor_poster_Graham_Humphreys3. The Editor / Graham Humphreys – Here’s a poster for a film I’m sad to have missed. Humphrey’ giallo tribute is everything we could’ve wanted. I love the bright pink which is loud and flamboyant, yet still scary. Humphreys is a legend who’s been at it for a while, and he’s still going strong.

mockingjay_posters_Ignition_Palen2. Ignition Print (photography by Tim Palen) / The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 – Another winning collaboration from photographer Tim Palen and Ignition Print. These posters are complete knockouts, offering up imagery that is exciting and layered with poignant ideas and themes. A perfect representation of how grown up the Hunger Games films have gotten, mixing urgent ideas with unforgettable imagery.

blue-ruin_poster_Akiko_Stehrenberger1. Akiko Stehrenberger / Blue Ruin – And here we are, my favorite poster of the year, and it’s another Stehrenberger! Blue Ruin was an absolute surprise this year, offering up a twist on the ‘ol revenger thriller. The film is incredibly complex and layered in terms of character – Akiko nailed it with this haunting image that like the film, is hard to shake!

See my list of Favorite Alt Posters from 2014 as well!