Erin Gillis

An Operatic Movie Poster


To the western reader, graphic design of the early Soviet period carries a mysterious and even hyperactive aggressive effect. This feeling can certainly be attributed to the foreignness of the Cyrillic script, with its thick strokes, bold outlines, staggered and almost rudimentary spacing. When it’s illegible, the Russian alphabet bares some similarities to the Roman one, yet its curious backward glyphs and symbols make it just strange enough to see the makings of more eastern alphabets, like the Chinese character.
poster, graphic design

Bad Things Come in Large Packages


The color palette of contrasting red, black and white symbolized Russia’s Communist Revolution and represent the polarities in ideologies between the Socialist Reds and the Whites of the aristocracy. This Constructivist theory of art as political message was brilliantly depicted in El Lissitzky’s Beat the Whites With The Red Wedge, 1919.
poster, graphic design, advertising, Socialism, Russian Constructivism, Communism, Poland, Russia, red

Love Garden


Garden designers and brothers André and Paul Vera designed stunning landscape architecture that reflected the changing mode of the early 20thcentury and the shift toward rational modernism. Their unique vocabulary of geometric forms, symmetry and bold color contrasts, helped usher in the Art Moderne style, applying it not to just furniture and architecture, but the natural world as well.
André Vera, Paul Vera, landscape architecture, drawing, illustration, Garden, garden design, Atelier Francais, Louis Sue, rationality

The British Are Coming to the Summer of Love


June of 1967 marked the beginning of the Summer of Love in San Francisco.  The city’s psychedelic scene was in full force and created a zeitgeist of music, art and attitude that’s been fabled in the American patchwork.  This aesthetic had its greatest reach through the stylized concert posters commissioned by the legendary promoter Bill Graham for his shows at the Fillmore Auditorium.
Bonnie MacLean, Bill Graham, Fillmore Auditorium, poster, graphic design, psychedelic, concert poster, music

A Richly Fabled Romance


The marriage between art and music has always been a richly fabled romance.  In the modern era, graphic designers have had a particular knack for fusing these two mediums by imbibing their personal passion for music into their work.  Consider for instance Reid Miles typographic album covers for the jazz label Blue Note in the 1950s or Wes Wilson’s psychedelic concert posters for Bill Graham presents in the 1960s. Each designer’s individual taste helped signify the way we see music.
Niklaus Troxler, graphic design, jazz, music, poster, Wes Wilson, Reid Miles, Ellery Eskelin Trio, circles, dots

Ribbons in the Sky


With its dancing roll of printing ribbon, diving between a checkerboard game of multi-colored squares and symbols, this ad for Olivetti’s Divisumma adding machine makes simple mathematics look like anything but just another day at the office.
Hebert Bayer, Olivetti, advertising, poster, offset lithography, graphic design

An emblem of Dutch diversity


With its overlapping pattern of abstracted florals and its animated orange circular motif, this exhibition poster designed by artist Johan Thorn Prikker (b.1868-1932) is a true icon of the Nieuwe Kunst (Art Nouveau) style in Holland.  Created for an exhibition of Dutch art at the Kaiser-Wilhelm museum in Krefeld, Germany, Thorn Prikker employed several signifiers of Dutch nationalism to advertise the event, most notably the orange (for the House of Orange-Nassau), the tulip, and Indonesian batik.
Johan Thorn Prikker, textile design, graphic design, poster, batik, Dutch stained glass, Art Nouveau