The 11 Best Movie Posters of 2011

After reading a few eye-rolling best movie posters of 2011 lists and questioning the rationalities behind fans and writers picking their favorite posters, I took the time to compile our own own list, putting two years of ad school skills with a fellow designer / colleague to practice. Here is a look at some of the best that came to mind. Honorable mentions: Bridesmaids, Scream 4, The Dark Knight Rises, Shame and Weekend.

11. The Run Diary: Commercially the long-awaited Johnny Depp film was a flop and critically it still disappointed. Most of the blame goes to marketing execs, who didn’t quite know how to sell the film despite a mildly attractive trailer and this copy clever typographical poster.

10. J. Edgar: Most might argue the other way on this, claiming Leo in an unflattering, oddly cropped portrait missed the mark, however, the still demands much attention and captures the character brilliantly. The hand-written signature title at the top quiets the image to match the tone of Eastwood’s film.

9. Jane Eyre: Though superimposition (especially with people) is one of the oldest tricks in the book, the trick works well on this classic adaptation thanks to magnificent use of placement, tone, color and Gotham’s beauty.

8. Super 8: Unfortunately this simple installation in the J.J. Abrams collection was abandoned when it came time to make the DVD cover. The poster still deserves a lot of credit for giving us a skewed image and taking cues from Lost (is that font familiar?) to withhold information but keep us guessing.

7. Drive: Drive is somewhat of an unconventional movie if you aren’t familiar with noir or thrillers without action. The poster breaks rules of its own.

6. Martha Marcy May Marlene: Another cheap trick that cannot be ignored because it is done so beautifully. We’re not sure exactly what is going on, but we can gather this is a bright film about an internally-conflicted character. There is another poster circling with the title character hidden behind a large M, which is probably even better than this example.

5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: A teaser poster for the film is just as good, but this one escapes the dirty, sexual politics of the movie and instead builds on the dark relationship created from two characters in professional recovery. The custom typography is finally showcased and definitely matches the cutting synths created by the film’s soundtrack.

4. Cat Run: It might just be a dud action-comedy about a dolled up escort holding the key to a large-scale government scandal, but the poster has different ideas the film’s importance. Brilliant use of color and type, the most dynamic part of this poster is guessing what the film and character are all about through the silhouette.

3. Haywire: Scheduled for a release early next year, the Haywire poster recently surfaced proving the power of alternative grids and effectiveness in depth through color. Sans the vague and laughable copy, it highlights its stars and fits its edgy plot.

2. The Ides of March: It is perhaps one of the most simple ideas to make the list, but what an eye to find and create the similarities between the two stars who happen to share a thematically important role in the film. Execution on the idea is what makes this poster take the lead.

1. The Tree of Life: Purely a photographic solution, this poster is easily the most powerful one of the crop. Off balanced and symmetrical at the same time, the image captures the eyes and take us on a journey (whether you like it or not) to be remembered. The text, the over exposure, the simplicity and the beauty all make this one stunningly powerful poster.

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