A large monument in the shape of a globe suspended above sculptural clouds
A Star-Studded Tour of France
In the aftermath of the French Revolution, many public squares required new monuments that celebrated Revolutionary ideals instead of the might of the fallen monarchy. Several fascinating proposals followed including a suggestion by Jacques-Louis David who suggested  in 1793 that a large statue of Hercules be erected on  Place de Pont-Neuf  with each limb of...
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Ilonka’s Cinderella
Cinderella is one of the most beloved children’s stories of all time and has been illustrated on wallpaper by numerous designers. This rendition was created by Ilonka Karasz, designer, illustrator, and one of the premiere women industrial designers. Ilonka began designing wallpaper in 1948 and worked almost exclusively for Katzenbach & Warren. As seen in...
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Forty Posters in Forty Days
Whether an advertisement or call to action, posters have long been used to grab a viewer’s attention. Spanning over a century of graphic design from the collection, How Posters Work, an exhibition here at the Cooper Hewitt (May 8 – November 29, 2015), celebrates the form by considering how designers turn a creative idea into...
Kauffer Spring
Anatomy of the Design Process
Many graphic designers have explored the graphic possibilities of lithography by combining it with photography. Among those was E. McKnight Kauffer, an American designer who moved to London just before the First World War and stayed until the advent of the second. Kauffer often combined illustration with halftone reproductions of photographic elements, and he remained committed...
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Women’s Action is Women’s Power
Founded in 1992, the Women’s Action Coalition (WAC) staged public demonstrations or “actions” to raise the visibility of women in art, culture, and society. The organization was founded in response to the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill congressional hearings, which riveted national attention on sexual harassment. Many women in New York’s creative community took part in WAC,...
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The Left
This poster for an exhibition about the history of political posters features a screenprinted image of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the Argentine revolutionary whose face became synonymous with leftist oppositional movements in the twentieth century. Variations of the poster were produced by directly spray-painting different messages and marks over Guevara’s portrait.   Ellen Lupton is Senior...
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Leaving on a Jetplane to Aspen
Ivan Chermayeff’s famous poster uses a system of found typography to represent the gathering of design professionals at the International Design Conference at Aspen. Chermayeff uses luggage tags to represent the array of countries from which the attendees hail. Ellen Lupton is Senior Curator of Contemporary Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and Director of the...
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Stripes of Another Color
Conceptual artist Daniel Buren is known for his ongoing series of works featuring alternating white and colored stripes, 8.7 cm (3 2/5 in.) wide. These printed announcements for an exhibition in Belgium feature Buren’s signature stripes at full scale. Stripes like these are commonly seen on awnings and commercial signs in France. The evenly spaced...
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Have a Coke with Me?
“The best political graphics today exist on the cusp of art and graphic design. The people responsible often see themselves as both artists and designers. The posters don’t look like they were done to express the views of a client, but rather to express the viewpoint of the creator. The work doesn’t exhibit the sort...