NEW COUNTDOWN TIME!
Who the heck am I to be doing this? In the real world I’m a university graphic design professor and longtime professional designer. My designs have appeared in what professionals refer to as “the annuals,” (like Print, How, and Graphis) more than 300 times — and I’ve been collecting film posters for as long as I can remember.
Before we plunge into the posters themselves, let me refresh you on the ground rules: First and foremost, this countdown is about design. This is a ranking of poster designs, not of the films themselves.
First-run, theatrical release one-sheet posters for American neo-noir films from the past five decades, For the sake of having more posters to choose from, my definition of neo-noir was much more relaxed than it is when I’m writing about film noir.
Judging criteria (In order of prominence):
- Design and Artistic merit. Composition, color, balance, typography, strength of illustration or photography, graphic power, etc.
- Concept. How well does the poster communicate the film’s message? Is the poster true to the film? Is it misleading? Does it reach the intended audience?
- Originality and Novelty. I reward artistic risk-takers!
- The Blank Slate rule. All films are equal. Chinatown’s poster doesn’t get an advantage for representing one of the great American films.
- My personal taste. The least significant of the criteria. My choices are guided primarily by the above criteria, though my personal preferences must come into play somewhere. And while any such list is by nature subjective, not all opinions carry equal weight: I’ve spent the entirety of my adult life teaching design and advertising professionals how to successfully tackle design problems and communicate their clients’ messages.
Let’s get started! Download all you like!
63. The Money Trap (1965)
Good poster in the classic vein, if only it wasn’t so pink! Nice concept and execution on the title typography, accompanied by a novel arrangement of the text elsewhere.
See you in two weeks for the next fifteen posters!