We all love to watch movies and enjoy the visual appeal of their posters with awe. But most people forget to acknowledge the work, thought, and imagination that goes into creating movie posters.
A few movie posters are so iconic that their artists deserve to be remembered and appreciated for their talent. The movie industry is less interested in making the artists known, but that’s what we are doing!
Movie posters are not simply promotional material. If you look at the best ones, you can see the amount of effort that goes into making them and sending out an artistic yet worthy message.
This article looks at the top 11 film and movie poster artists of all time and what made their designs so unforgettable. This list is judged by Andy Storey, an actual art director working in the movie poster business.
That’s right, I design movie posters, movie logos and come up with marketing plans for film, TV and streaming content. It’s a crazy world where some recognition needs to be given.
John Alvin created some of the most memorable cinematic posters in his life. He designed 135 posters and is still famous for his lyrical and magical movie poster designs.
One of his most prominent works was ‘Blazing Saddles.’ He is also the man behind some of our favorite movie posters like Star Wars, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, and Blade Runner.
Even the most iconic Disney movie posters like The Lion King, Aladdin, and The Beauty and the Beast were designed by Alvin. His art style was so uniquely beautiful that it became known as Alvinesque.
If you need some John Alvin inspiration you will need to add his book to your collection. Get the hardcover, “The Art of John Alvin.” It’s one of those must haves for movie poster fans.
You must have seen the stunning art for the legendary movie Casablanca. And the famous horror film, The Exorcist. The man behind these unforgettable works is Bill Gold.
He has created thousands of movie poster designs and has a career in this field that spans over 70 years.
His first movie poster came out in 1942 and it was for Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942). Other famous works of his include Mystic River, A Clockwork Orange, Barbarella, and For Your Eyes Only.
Bill Gold passed away in 2018 but is still one of the most revered film poster artists. His designs will forever be remembered for being clean, simple, with zero clutter and striking imagery and typography.
If movie poster art is your thing, his book, “Bill Gold: PosterWorks,” is a must-have. The book is great for reference and sheds light on a major creative director’s career.
The other cool thing is we went to the same college, Pratt Institute, but that didn’t make my decision biased. He rocks no matter what.
An illustrator and artist who played a major part in American pop culture was Reynold Brown.
He was the first one to introduce the idea of cutaway drawing. This artistic soul also painted amazing covers for paperback books and magazine covers. Furthermore, he was the creator of more than 300 movie posters.
Some of his notable works were for science fiction and horror film titles like Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Black Lagoon, Spartacus, and The House on Haunted Hill.
An Oscar-winning filmmaker and a graphic designer and artist, Saul Bass is a true legend when it comes to film posters. Due to the talent he manifested, he is arguably considered to be the greatest and most iconic graphic designer of the 20th century.
It was his signature art style to use a combination of geometrical, hand-drawn shapes and symbolism to create minimal yet very distinctive posters.
His list of highly-acclaimed artwork is endless. But some of his memorable posters are Schindlers List, Vertigo, The Cardinal, The Fixer, and Exodus.
Another must-have is the book “Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design.” There are over 1,000 illustrations and artwork within this book, making it a great reference and inspiration.
British illustrator and cinematic poster designer Tom Chantrell is a man who deserves to be on this list. After all, he was the one who designed the famous Style C poster to advertise the 1977 release of the cult-favorite Star Wars.
And if Star Wars posters is your thing you will want to check out these articles:
- How to Tell If a Star Wars Poster is Original (Tell-Tail Signs)
- 10 Most Desirable Movie Posters to Have in Your Collection
Plus, if you noticed the horizontal Star Wars poster above known as a “Quad,” you will want to learn all about them in this article:
Other noteworthy posters by him include Brighton Rock, The Sound of Music, One Million Years B.C., and The King and I.
Some of our all-time favorite movies, such as The Shawshank Redemption, Indiana Jones, Bladerunner, The Green Mile, Mallrats, and the Star Wars series, had their posters designed by the talented Drew Struzan.
His artistic style is mostly colorful, detailed, and bright based in the stunning form of airbrushed paintings as well as acrylic colors.
Without a doubt, the illustration techniques used by Drew Struzan are no less than amazing. If Drew’s artwork is as appealing to you as me, you will want to check out this book, “Drew Struzan: Oeuvre” as well as the documentary “Drew: The Man Behind the Poster.”
He even came to be known as Broadways King of Caricature. Al Hirschfeld drew film posters such as Cabin in the Sky, Hallelujah, Girl Crazy, and The Wizard of Oz.
Tom Jung is an American art director and advertiser who has made some of the most brilliant movie posters in the industry to date. He is known as the designer behind the A Style theatrical poster for Star Wars film campaign.
That’s not all he is famous for. He has created some excellent designs for film posters like Gone With The Wind, The Omen, Doctor Zhivago, and Lord of the Rings.
An Italian artist Renato Casaro is also an outstanding name in this list of top film poster artists.
He began his movie poster career back in 1953 when he was only 18. Starting off in the Italian film industry, his talent and success led him to design posters for American, German, British, and Japanese markets as well.
Famous works by Casaro include Terminator 2, Solaris, and Conan.
If you dig his style of art you will absolutely love his book, “Renato Casaro. The art of movie painting.”
A man who must be honored and remembered today and for years to come is Jack Davis.
This extremely talented cartoonist drew movie posters by hand when computers did not exist. His art stood out because of the proportions he used on his characters to spark humor.
Big-sized heads, wide smiles, and tiny bodies were his classic art style. You may even know his best for his illustrations for Mad Magazine.
The Long Goodbye, Bananas, and La De Party are some of his widely loved poster designs.
Here are three books for the Jack Davis fans:
- The Comedy Of Jack Davis: Introduction by Bhob Stewart Afterword by Mort Todd
- Jack Davis: Some of My Good Stuff
- The MAD Art of Jack Davis: The Complete Collection of His Work from MAD Comics #1-23: MAD’s Original Idiots
A prominent name in the Hollywood film industry, Karoly Grosz was mostly known for his bright, vivid, and dramatic posters for classic horror films. His exemplary works include The Invisible Man, My Man Godfrey, Dracula, The Mummy, and Frankenstein.
We still do not have much biographical knowledge about Karoly Grosz. But his work is highly valued by collectors even today.
If you are new to collecting movie posters you may want to read this article to which iconic posters are “must haves.”
Are you the next top movie poster artist?
Perhaps you will want to be on the Top 11 movie poster artist list! If that’s the case, you will need to learn how to create movie poster art professionally.
The cool thing is that we are currently creating online classes specific to movie poster art and design. We highly suggest you sign up for our newsletter so that you will be notified as soon as classes are released.
In the meantime you can check out our free courses on our YouTube channel today.