How Posters Work at Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, New York

New YorkArt & Culture

Attention Seekers

Exhibition looks at techniques design icons like Saul Bass and Victor Moscoso use to convey their message...

How do posters work? You put bit of blu-tack at each corner and stick them on the wall, right? But hang on a minute, there’s more to it than that. A new exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York is explaining the finer points of an effective poster and the myriad methods designers use to get their message across.

How Posters Work uses more than 125 examples from the Cooper Hewitt permanent collection to explore the topic, looking at form, colour, image and language and the ways in which these factors can be manipulated for maximum impact. Some graphic designers aim for immediate clarity while others use suggestion and hidden messages in a more roundabout way. The psychedelic posters of Victor Moscoso, for example, aim to lead the eye on a journey through an overwhelming array of shapes and colours. At the other end of the design spectrum, posters with a central image trap the eye with a dominant object from which it is impossible to escape. The works on display date from the beginning of the 20th Century, showing how the pre-digital process of paste-up boards influenced composition and traces the evolution of poster design through to the present day. How Posters Work closes on 15 November.

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How Posters Work at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York

Poster, Dziecko Rosemary [Rosemary’s Baby], 1984
Designed by Andrzej Pagowski
Offset lithograph, Poland
95.6 × 67.2 cm (37 5/8 × 26 7/16 in.)
Gift of Sara and Marc Benda

How Posters Work at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York

Poster, Nocny Kowboj [Midnight Cowboy], 1973
Designed by Waldemar Swierzy
Offset lithograph on wove paper
82.6 × 58.5 cm (32 1/2 × 23 1/16 in.)
Gift of Sara and Marc Benda

How Posters Work at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York How Posters Work at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York

Poster, addo-x, 1958
Designer: Ladislav Sutnar
Client: Addo-x
Offset lithograph on white wove paper, USA
H x W: 96.8 × 60.8 cm (38 1/8 × 23 15/16 in.)
Gift of Anonymous Donor

How Posters Work at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York

Poster, Someone Talked!, 1942
Designed by Frederick Siebel Printed by Devoe & Reynolds Painting Company
Lithograph on paper, USA
H x W: 101.8 × 71.1 cm (40 1/16 in. × 28 in.)
Gift of Louise Clémencon

How Posters Work at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York How Posters Work at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York

Poster, Exodus, 1961
Designed by Saul Bass
Lithographer: National Screen Service Corporation
Offset lithograph on wove paper, USA
104.1 × 68.7 cm (41 in. × 27 1/16 in.)
Gift of Sara and Marc Benda

How Posters Work at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York

Poster, L’Initiation, 1970
Designed by Jacques Delisle Client: Cinépix Film Properties Inc. (CFP)
Offset lithograph on wove paper, Canada
107 × 71.4 cm (42 1/8 × 28 1/8 in.)
Gift of Sara and Marc Benda

How Posters Work at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York

Poster, Zürcher Theater Spektakel [Zürich Theatre Festivel], 1996
Design Director: Benker & Steiner Werbeagentur AG Client: Zürcher Theater Spektakel
Offset lithograph on wove paper
128.1 × 90.6 cm (50 7/16 × 35 11/16 in.)
Gift of Sara and Marc Benda

How Posters Work at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York How Posters Work at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York

Poster, Kabaret, 1973
Designed by Wiktor Górka
Offset lithograph on wove paper
83.8 × 58.1 cm (33 in. × 22 7/8 in.)
Gift of Sara and Marc Benda

How Posters Work at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York

Poster, Junior Wells, 1966
Designer: Victor Moscoso
Offset lithograph on white wove paper
Europe and USA
H x W: 51 × 36.2 cm (20 1/16 × 14 1/4 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie J. Schreyer

How Posters Work at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York

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