graphic design

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Letters to see and feel, but not to read
This is a poster for a stage play called Abe Sada (阿部定) performed by a Japanese experimental theatre company called Black Tent Theatre in 1973. The story of the play is based on a true murder case that rocked Japan in 1936, a notorious crime that is the central focus of the poster. At first...
Poster, PLUCKEM, 1980
Pluck ‘Em!
Fearing the Nazis were secretly producing atomic weapons, President Roosevelt collaborated with Canada and Britain to launch the Manhattan Project in 1942, an experimental nuclear weapon initiative.[1] The Manhattan Project was, by morbid standards, “successful”; the only two nuclear attacks in the history of the world were executed by the United States in August of...
HPW_front_cover
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...
mccarty
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,...
windlin
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...
chermayeff
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...
buren 1
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...
gowing
The Tyranny of Distance
Australian designer Mark Gowing explains that the repeating forms of his country’s minimalist landscape are manifested in his geometric compositions. This poster was designed to advertise a solo exhibition of the work of Jonathan Jones, a Sydney-based Aboriginal artist from the Kamilaroi/Wiradjuri nations located in South Eastern Australia. Jones’s work in sculpture and installation features fluorescent...