graphic design

Tanzstudio


In 1931 when he designed this poster, the Swiss artist, designer, and architect Max Bill had already completed several years of study at the Bauhaus under the guidance of artistic luminaries Oskar Schlemmer, Paul Klee, and Wassily Kandinsky.  Bill had returned to Switzerland in 1929, and it was while living in Z&uu
Max Bill, poster, graphic design, dance, Käthe Wulff, Mariette von Meyenburg, Bauhaus, Rudolf von Laban, Oskar Schlemmer

Good Vibrations


Stare into the electric blue shades of this woman’s sunglasses and what do you see?  Even if you know what you are looking for, the blue letterforms come together to form coherent words only with sustained visual focus.  If you were to advertise a concert that you wanted people to come to, would you make it this difficult for your audience to find out about it?  Or could it be that the designer had something else in mind?
Victor Moscoso, San Francisco, The Chambers Brothers, Josef Albers, Herbert Matter, Yale University, Cooper Union, color theory, New York, poster, lithography, Neon Rose, Wes Wilson, Stanley Mouse, Rick Griffin, typography, graphic design

Guerilla Feminism


Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum? is a poster designed by the Guerrilla Girls - a radical feminist collective – in order to draw attention to rampant discrimination against women artists in the curatorial collections of major museums. Legendary for their guerrilla tactics, gorilla masks and take-no-prisoners attitude, the Guerrilla Girls name names and point fingers with no apologies.
Guerrila Girls, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, poster, graphic design, Jean-August-Dominique Ingres, collage

Who is the Man Behind the Design?


There is—literally—a man behind the design of the post office in Pieter Brattinga’s (1931-2004) De Man Achter de Vormgeving van de P.T.T. This poster is for a 1960 exhibition by the Dutch postal service, the PTT (then the Staatsbedrijf der Posterijen, Telegrafie en Telefonie; now the Koninklijke PTT Nederland). The PTT, founded in the nineteenth century, has promoted contemporary art since the 1920s through stamp designs and by sponsoring exhibitions.
Pieter Brattinga, Dutch graphic design, offset lithography, poster, graphic design, layering, Koninklijke PTT Nederland, Netherlands

Simple Yet Bold


Born on today's date in 1930, Ikko Tanaka was one of the giants of Japanese graphic design in the second half of the twentieth century. Tanaka began designing posters in 1954 and was renowned for his ability to synthesize both Japanese and Western aesthetics. His name became synonymous with straightforward, impressive designs recognizable for their universality.
Ikko Tanaka, Pieter Brattinga, Japanese graphic design, Dutch graphic design, offset lithography, poster, geometry, Netherlands, graphic design

The Power Underground


When it was introduced to London in the 19th century, the first underground railway was revolutionary. Able to provide quick, uninterrupted travel for commuters and easy access to the bustling city from the suburbs, the London Underground promised a better, more efficient future. It would take some convincing, however, to get the general public to hop onboard. People were understandably skeptical of the new technological marvel—after all, the idea of loud, smoky locomotives navigating the dank, dark circuitry of London’s underbelly wasn’t particularly appetizing.
London Underground, Frank Pick, E. McKnight Kauffer, poster, advertisement, graphic design, Man Ray, Graham Sutherland, London, travel

Holiday Shopping


In 1961, with the inauguration of its storewide import fairs, Bloomingdale’s commissioned its first series of designer bags to omit the store’s name. The department store became known for its “retail theater,” engaging leading artists, photographers, graphic designers, and fashion designers to create accompanying bags for special promotions.
shopping bags, graphic design, Holiday, Christmas, folk art, John Jay, Bloomingdale's, Karen Jakobsen, New York City, retail

Echoes of Techno


In Niklaus Troxler’s abstraction, green and yellow bands pulsate on black. Rectangular slivers of shapes draw the viewer across and down. Diagonal paths form along the way. Reinforced by its title, Echoes of Techno, the image emits rhythm and sound, progressing over time.
Niklaus Troxler, jazz, posters, New York City, Jazz Willisau, Switzerland, techno, graphic design

Exodus


“Work? It’s just serious play,” Saul Bass remarked in a 1993 interview. Indeed, Saul Bass’s marvelous career, which spanned from the 1930s until his death in 1996, is defined by his trademark wit, humor, and playfulness. Whether it was in movie posters, billboards, brand identities, or packaging design, Bass always injected his work with a delightful energy and intelligence, quite remarkable given the distilled simplicity of his work.
Saul Bass, poster, graphic design, Arts Students League, Bauhaus, Paul Rand, Alvin Lustig, New York City, film, Judaism

Getting There is Half the Fun


Or, perhaps, not actually a proportional half-and-half. Edward McKnight Kauffer’s series of posters for American Airlines focuses on the destination (such as Chicago or Niagara Falls) rather than the air travel itself. From this perspective, being there is more than half the fun.
advertising, American Airlines, Edward McKnight Kauffer, Cubism, abstraction, graphic design, poster

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