Posters: information made visible.
Why do posters still have a place?
Often posters end up as works of art or collectables in their own right, finding their way into the homes of connoisseurs or sentimental tourists, and even galleries all over the world. This could be thanks to their beauty, as with many Japanese posters – the great Hokusai comes to mind. It could also be the maverick design that announces a completely new direction, like those by Toulouse Lautrec.
They can announce, vilify, influence, decorate, and inform, sometimes all at the same time! Often they are a marker of their society and reflect the current values and points of view of the people who see them. Or not. Sometimes their purpose is to educate, inspire, introduce a brand, whip up anger, cause debate or act as a call to action.
These posters were all designed for different audiences and reasons. But what they all have in common is the fitting of a lot of info into a finite space, and making the subject known. As a designer/illustrator, one has to prevent the viewer from working too hard…
There are many ways of making a complex design simple to access so that anyone reading the info can find what they are looking for without jumping through hoops to get there. Colours, symbols, pictures and maps help, as in the Iziko museum poster, announcing a lecture.