August 18 , 2007


A Global History


From band posters stapled to telephone poles to the advertisements hanging at bus shelters to the inspirational prints that adorn office walls, posters surround us everywhere—but do we know how they began? Telling the story of this ephemeral art form, Elizabeth E. Guffey reexamines the poster’s roots in the nineteenth century and explores the relevance they still possess in the age of digital media. Even in our world of social media and electronic devices, she argues, few forms of graphic design can rival posters for sheer spatial presence, and they provide new opportunities to communicate across public spaces in cities around the globe.
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Guffey charts the rise of the poster from the revolutionary lithographs that papered nineteenth-century London and Paris to twentieth-century works of propaganda, advertising, pop culture, and protest. Examining contemporary examples, she discusses Palestinian martyr posters and West African posters that describe voodoo activities or Internet con men, stopping along the way to uncover a rich variety of posters from the Soviet Union, China, the United States, and more. Featuring 150 stunning images, this illuminating book delivers a fresh look at the poster and offers revealing insights into the designs and practices of our twenty-first-century world.
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