Your Favourite Movies as Minimalist Posters

What would your favourite movies look like as minimalist posters? This is the question that gnawed away at Amsterdam-based designer Chungkong, prompting him to begin a marathon of movie poster design creation, entitled Minimal Movie Posters.

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“To give you an inside, for myself I refer to the whole of the collection as ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’. Some of the movie titles represent very good movies, some of them pretty bad ones and every now and then really ugly films.”

So far, Chungkong’s arsenal of movie posters is over 900 strong. In each one, a striking, pictorial representation accompanies a short, illustrative quote that gives the viewer a sense of a movie’s essence.

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Last time we spoke to Chungkong, he had begun his Minimal Movie Poster series, but he was also designing Formula One racetrack posters.

We caught up with the prolific designer to find out more about his series.

THE PLUS: What made you start the series?
Chungkong:
I just wanted to know what my favourite movies would look like when I made the movie posters. I expected to stop after the first 10. I did not expect it would grow out to a project this massive. It isn’t about “my favourite” movies anymore. I soon came to the conclusion that even very bad movies (the ones I did not like) made good posters.

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TP: Have you watched every single movie?
C:
Yup. But some of them, I have to admit, I watched years and years ago. Luckily, I have got this strange memory for stories. I can pretty much remember them in quite a lot of detail. It helps me get the core of each story.

TP: What are the key ingredients of a great poster design?
C:
A story that leaves a mark. For me, I have always asked myself the same question for every poster since I started: “Who or what is the “real star” in this movie?”. It could be a single moment, an object or a feeling. It’s different each time. Got that, got the poster.

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TP: What makes a great film for you?
C:
At this point, surprise. I have seen so many movies. I cannot watch any movie anymore without thinking what the poster would look like.

TP: What makes a film memorable?
C:
Emotion. Of course, I could say something of a movie that is accepted as being very good and therefore memorable (like the Godfather II, Shawshank Redemption or any top 100 movie ever made). But it is much more fun to look at this from the others side of that list – at the worst movies I have ever seen. For instance, take a terrible movie like Xanadu (Robert Greenwald with Olivia Newton John – 1980). When you accept the fact that movies like these are not the best ever made, they can give you (strangely enough) a good time. And more importantly for me, they very often make very fun posters. 

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TP: You’ve said: “Reality is chaos.” Is this a positive or negative thing for you?
C:
Positive. For me, it’s a rule I live by. It holds this feeling that nothing is solid. You should not have to accept anything as a given fact. There is no status quo, change is the only constant universal law (and even that should be questioned).

TP: What attracts you to minimalism?
C:
The focus on the essence. The promise that form is subordinate to content. In a way, the simpler and more abstract, the bigger the core ideas shine.

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TP: When we last caught up with you, you were designing Formula One posters. Do you have any other ongoing projects or ideas for new projects you are doing alongside the film posters?
C:
Well Minimal Movie Posters is my main project. But I’ve also got this other “big” project: Minimal Music Posters. With over a 170 posters so far, that project is also getting out of hand.

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