It was no secret that my art history professor and I shared a mutual enmity for one another that stemmed from my foolish decision as a freshman to attempt to take Renaissance to Modern Art History at some ungodly hour of the morning (ie. 7:45am) in my first semester of college. Looking back now, I realize despite his clearly deliberate attempts to make the subject as uninteresting as possible, and my repeated failures to study for the quizzes, I actually learned a lot from the three semesters of torture valuable history I took from him.
There is a lot to be gained as artists and designers by looking back at the history of our craft, and the easiest place to start is looking through the archives of poster design. From the early days of the modern poster in late 19th century France with artists like Jules Chéret, to the stylized masterpieces of Saul Bass – the history of graphic design and advertising is definitely linked to these pioneers of the craft.
Take a look at this list of 50 Poster designs that rocked the world from our friends at Xerox. While not a comprehensive list of the greatest posters in history – there are certainly a few that have become synonymous with their genre. I’ve talked before in this newsletter about my love of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” British propaganda posters from WWII, but I used to have a huge obsession with the art nouveau posters of the late 19th century, including my personal favorite of the genre, the fascinating Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec, whose work is sadly missing from this list!
What posters do you think they left out of this list? Give us a shout, and share your thoughts with us on or !