Poster Design

The IBM Poster Program

In the late 1960s, Paul Rand created a Design Guide for IBM that guided a group of very talented graphic designers on the visual execution of posters and advertising graphics for the company. More often than not Rand is the name that is associated with all of the work, but in reality designers, Ken White, John Anderson, and Tom Bluhm, and photographer Rodger Ewy created a large volume of the visual design work for IBM.

A new book documenting the posters these designers created. “The IBM Poster Program: Visual Memoranda,” showcases some of the most iconic examples of mid-century corporate graphic design with a unique commentary on corporate communications of that period. It also shows how Thomas J. Watson Jr.’s mantra, “Good Design is Good Business” infiltrated every facet of the IBM organization and created a lasting influence on curated corporate design in the United States.

This just went on my reading list.

“In the late 1960s, IBM was one of the world’s pre-eminent corporations, employing over 250,000 people in 100 countries and producing some of the most advanced products on earth. IBM President Thomas J. Watson Jnr. sought to elevate the company’s image by hiring world-renowned design consultants, including Eliot Noyes and Paul Rand. As well as developing the iconic IBM logo and a corporate design guide, Rand also brought together a remarkable team of internal staff designers. 

One of the designers he hand-picked was Ken White, who, along with John Anderson and Tom Bluhm, headed up the design team at the IBM Design Center in Boulder, Colorado. Together, they initiated a poster program as a platform for elevating internal communications and initiatives within the company. These posters were displayed in hallways, conference rooms, and cafeterias throughout IBM campuses, with subject matter including everything from encouraging equal opportunity policies to reminders on best
security practices to promoting a family fun day. Designers often incorporated figurative typography, dry humor, visual puns, and photography to craft memorable and compelling messages. Many of the posters won Type Directors Club awards and a large number were ‘re-appropriated from walls by enthusiastic IBM employees.

While Paul Rand’s creative genius has been well documented, the work of the IBM staff designers who executed his intent outlined in the IBM Design Guide has often gone unnoticed. The poster designs by White, Anderson, and Bluhm included in this book represent some of the most creative examples of mid-century corporate graphic design, while offering a unique commentary into corporate employee communications of the period. They also embody the full extent to which Thomas J. Watson Jr.’s mantra, “Good Design is Good Business” permeated every facet of the IBM organization, and created a lasting influence on curated corporate design in America.

Lund Humphries Books

The Poster Designs for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Are Crazy – Awesome

I’m not sure what the selection criteria were for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, but I’m digging the completely crazy set of images that were chosen.  The styles range from Manga to Cubism to Surrealism and Photography. If you compare these to what we traditionally have gotten the Tokyo posters seem almost out of left field. Hat tip to the judges for taking a chance and choosing posters that are a reflection of Japanese culture, and that take a chance. You can see all of the posters here and read the artists statements about the works as well.

Infographics to geek out over.

I love a good infographic, and when they are executed by illustrators like Matt Taylor, Tom Whalen, and Kevin Tong you know they are gonna be amazing. Below are just a few of the geeky images that these three (info-rama) have teamed up with Mondo to do an art show specifically about infographics. Not just any infographics. Infographics for your inner geek, ranging from Star Wars, to Batman, to the Avengers and beyond. If you live in Austin, you might want to head over to Mondo Gallery on June 24 at 7pm for the Inforama opening. It looks like it is going to be a pretty fun show.

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Stellavie, Movie Director Portrait’s Remind Me of the Classics.

If you haven’t seen the movie 2013 Drew: The Man Behind the Poster I highly recommend it. If you aren’t familiar with the artist that is the subject of the film, you’ll definitely recognize his work since he produced pretty much every block buster movie poster from the 1970’s through 90’s. That brings me to the subject of this post. A series of posters produced by German design studio Stellavie. The posters are portraits of famous movie directors done in that classic movie poster style. Each 16 by 20 inch poster is done up in glorious black and white, and they are absolutely brilliant. The illustration style, composition, the way they capture the essence of each director and the movies they produced. There are a total of 6,Alfred Hitchcock Martin Scorsese David Lynch Quentin Tarantino Stanley Kubrick Tim Burton, and they are all equally great. I kind of want all of them. The posters were developed by Stellavie in close collaboration with Julian Rentzsch. Each is produced on  beautiful cotton paper stock that captures Rentzsch’s drawing and illustration skills. The original art is a blend analogue and digital, that works together so well. It makes me wish the big studios that did away with classic movie poster styles would go back to the look of the golden age.

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