Posters: Print as Art, Political Player and Cultural Icon

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Posters are a uniquely powerful form of media with a brilliant cultural history. They have weilded political power, changed minds and attitudes, and served as influential icons of art, politics and popular culture. Think of the “Wanted” posters of Depression-era gangsgters, movie posters from the golden age of the silver screen, and political posters from every campaign since the press was invented. In the digital age, posters have proven no less powerful –  the Obama “HOPE” posters or the art generated by the Occupy movements. Look around town at the musical, political and social events being advertised in shop windows and on phone poles. The poster is alive and well and as intersting as ever.

Seventies iconic posters

I grew up in the 1970s and was thinking about the popularity of posters in that day — check out a few examples above. Everyone I knew had their room decorated with posters of rock stars or television or movie heroes. I assume that pretty much holds true today as well? Every trip to a store like Sears or the local record store back then included browsing through the hinged display frames of posters to see what would look great on your bedroom or dorm wall. Probably the most famous poster of that era was Farrah Fawcett’s red swimsuit poster. From a photo taken in her back yard, 12 million copies were sold. My bedroom wall back in those times had posters of Elton John, Linda Ronstadt and Paul McCartney.

Check out some influential posters that have now been curated as art: posters from the 1968 protest uprisings in Paris designed by the “People’s Studio” (artists mostly from the Paris School of Fine Arts); and David King’s collection of revolutionary and avant-garde posters at the Tate Modern in London. Print is powerful!

Rely on your printer for advice and direction in creating and distributing posters of your own. Advertize an upcoming event, promote your business or your politics, or generate your own cultural meme! The poster is everyman’s media for self expression. To get yours produced and seen,  the best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!


ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.