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Fantastic Sci-Fi and Fantasy Movie Poster Inspiration, 1925 to 2010

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Science Fiction posters are quite often the most interesting - it gives designers great opportunities to experiment with things they don't usually experiment with on a day-to-day basis, such as futuristic lighting and unusual compositions. This post showcases ninety-nine sci-fi movie posters in total, starting with The Lost World from 1925, right the way through to Disney's Tron Legacy which is due for release mid-December at the end of this year.

The Lost World (1925)

This showcase opens with a whopper of a movie poster from 85 years ago. The Lost World poster uses a wonderful composition making use of bright, attractive colors against a bold, dark blue background. The pale yellow border around the title of the movie makes this poster stand out from others in its time - as you'll see below, most other film posters from the early and mid 1900's in this genre used dark borders if any at all.

Metropolis (1927)

Cat People (1942)

Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

The Creature from the Black Lagoon poster is possibly one you've seen before, but there's no harm in seeing it again - it's a superb poster. It is however a difficult one to get to grips with, at first thought you may think the creature and woman are above water, and then you realize there are bubbles and divers with spears in the background. It made me and others I have shown the poster look at it for a longer period of time than I would most other posters, which can only be a good thing for movie producers, right?

This Island Earth (1955)

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

The Incredible Shrinking Man uses techniques that we still see today, mainly referring to the 2D picture with the overlapping scissors making it appear three dimensional.

The Time Machine (1960)

Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

Barbarella (1968)

This is the first poster in the showcase that makes great use of whitespace and merging that technique with simplicity and a limited color scheme. The idea of the red border and line at the bottom of the poster is to make different areas stand out as independent elements, making the poster easier for your eyes to digest.

The Valley Of Gwangi (1969)

Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun (1969)

The use of grid-based design and different alignments in this poster makes it what it is. The whole design fits very nicely to the grid, yet the typography has broken a few rules by not matching the width of the pictures - overall it creates a cool effect that we have all seemed to adjust to and see in everyday design nowadays.

THX II38 (1971)

THX 1138 is another great example of early grid-based design in this genre of film posters. Unlike the previous poster this one breaks no rules and strictly sticks to grid lines. It creates a clean and tidy look leaving us feeling refreshed and probably wanting to see the movie.

Silent Running (1972)

Soylent Green (1973)

Soylent Green uses a similar effect to that used in 'The Incredible Shrinking Man' poster from 1957. The Riot Control digger (which looks just a little dangerous!) emerging from the four-sided picture makes the image appear three-dimensional, making it feel like (at the time) something from the future.

Close Encounters To The Third Kind (1977)

The poster of Close Encounters uses plenty of techniques that we see still being used in modern film poster design, such as 'The Day The Earth Stood Still' and 'Watchmen' that you can see later in this showcase. The glowing light effect and blurred stars creates a gloomy and suspicious mood as well as drawing your attention to the great combination of grayscale and yellow typography.

Star Wars (1977)

Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers (1978)

Alien (1979)

This original Alien movie poster from '79 uses the inverted version of white space, making a gloomy and dark mood with a very limited and minimal design.

The Black Hole (1979)

Mad Max (1979)

The Road Warrior (1981)

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Along with this classic movie comes a classic movie poster - the very limited color scheme is brought to life using a thin off-white border. The silhouette of the flying BMX bicycle is clearly the most recognized element used in the poster, and is known worldwide.

The Thing (1982)

Blade Runner (1982)

Krull (1983)

The Terminator (1984)

Ghostbusters (1984)

The original Ghostbusters movie poster uses a technique that doesn't include the movie title - we are seeing this technique used much more regularly in recent years from films such as The Matrix, X-Men and District 9. The technique works in the same way as logo or corporate image works, allowing us to recognize a film just by seeing the image it has been associated with.

Aliens (1986)

Innerspace (1987)

Masters Of The Universe (1987)

Predator (1987)

Ghostbusters II (1989)

The Abyss (1989)

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

Hardware (1990)

Predator 2 (1990)

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

Alien 3 (1992)

Super Mario Brothers: The Movie (1993)

Bang (1995)

The very limited color scheme of black and red in the poster of "Bang" creates an angry atmosphere for the viewer. Combined with minimal, bold typography and the anime-style eyes, the poster leaves us feeling curious, wanting to know more.

Species (1995)

Mars Attacks! (1996)

Mars Attacks! uses comedy and bright colors to attract viewers to their poster. The red typography against the green background makes the title of the movie stick in our minds due to being able to associate the posters unusual elements with the title.

Independence Day (1996)

Men In Black (1997)

Starship Troopers (1997)

Alien Resurrection (2000)

Species II (1998)

Species II (1998)

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999)

The Matrix (1999)

X-Men (2000)

Realistic rendering and lighting effects makes this poster stick out from a lot of the others. To date, the X-Men movies have used similar effects in their posters throughout the trilogy, and although they have slightly changed style in their latest movie, all four can easily be recognized as part of the X-Men series.

Pitch Black (2000)

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

As well as Monsters, Inc. being a truly legendary Disney and Pixar movie, their poster artwork didn't do anything but promote the movie incredibly well. The comical renders of Mike and Sulley in a minimalistic surrounding make for a poster that is sure to inspire and stick in our heads for quite some time.

Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones (2002)

Solaris (2002)

Men in Black II (2002)

Signs (2002)

Signs (2002)

X2 (2003)

As mentioned earlier in the post, the X-Men Trilogy used a great and very realistic metal rendering to produce their posters. It is now easily recognized and associated with the X-Men franchise.

Underworld (2003)

The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

The Core (2003)

Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines (2003)

The Chronicles Of Riddick (2004)

Species III (2004)

Alien vs Predator (2004)

AVP uses a truly gruesome and interesting render in their poster, and is probably the most horrific poster in this showcase. It creates a dark and scary mood, leaving some people clenching their fists - just the type of atmosphere you need for a sci-fi movie.

I, Robot (2004)

The Matrix (2005)

Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith (2005)

The most recent Star Wars movie uses some techniques to make their poster appear older than what it actually is, making it fit in nicely with the posters of the other five masterpieces.

Serenity (2005)

Photo manipulation and montaging makes this poster come to life by combining several photographs, renders and lighting techniques into one to produce a truly sci-fi feel.

War Of The Worlds (2005)

The remake of War of the Worlds uses a magnificent three-dimensional typography effect to really make their poster come to life. This style of typography is being used more and more frequently in recent years, making its way onto posters, magazine covers and web design.

Doom (2005)

Taken from the multi-platform and legendary console game, Doom uses warm, glowing colors, cross hairs and first-person angles to make you feel a part of the poster - after seeing the poster you're left in a tense mood, wanting to see the movie.

The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy (2005)

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

Transformers (2007)

Stardust (2007)

Alien vs Predator - Requiem (2007)

Sunshine (2007)

The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)

Cloverfield (2008)

Cloverfield is now quite well known for its realistic, dramatic and intense rendering. This isn't let down in the poster as it also uses the same realistic rendering techniques.

Species: The Awakening (2007)

Wall-E (2008)

The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008)

The glowing atmosphere, incredible shadows and simple, bold typography leaves the viewer in a gloomy and unreal mood.

Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans (2009)

Aliens In The Attic (2009)

Space Buddies (2009)

Watchmen (2009)

Knowing (2009)

Moon (2009)

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

District 9 (2009)

The use of texture in the past couple of years has been huge, and is still increasing. It allows us as designers to add a nice worn and grungy feel to our work. The District 9 poster incorporates vector images and typography with textures perfectly.

Transformers 2 (2009)

Push (2009)

Terminator Salvation (2009)

Avatar (2009)

Avatar (2009)

Tron Legacy (2010)

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