Meggs’ History of Graphic Design Chp. 14 Summary

Poster design during the first half of the twentieth century was between the lines of the desire for expressive and symbolic images and total visual organization of picture planes. During the year of 1894, two British painted named James Pryde and William Nicholson opened their own advertising design studio and developed a new technique to be used on poster, which we now know as collage.

However, even though their work was considered to be an artistic success, financially, it was a failure. Thus, they soon returned to painting. Another notable designer during the time named Dudly Hadley also turned to poster and advertising with the effective use of lettering and figures that appear against flat background. Lucian Bernhard, a self-taught artist, was able to move graphic communications to one step further with simplification, and minimizing by communicating with shapes and signs, like his Priester match poster where he used flat color shapes, product name, and product image. In the early twentieth century, Plakatstil, the reductive, flat-colour design, emerged.

By the time of World War I, governments turned to the use of posters to recruit armies and maintain public support of the war. Posters between the Central Powers and the Allies were different from each other, where the Austria-Hungary and Germany kept to tradition of the Vienna Succession while the Allies’ approach was more illustrative and being more literal. Many other graphic designers and illustrators during this time were incorporating images and concept from cubism and other early modern-art movements that played a role into defining the visual sensibilities of the 1920s and 1930s.

Cubism, during the time between two world war, was incorporated into designs at the time and was creating a whole new movement. One of the few notable designers at the time were Edward McKnight Kauffer and A. M. Cassandre who were known to define this new approach. During the years of 1920-1930, geometric works were given the name art deco and was a major aesthetic sensibility in graphics, architecture, and product design. Combination of cubism and futurism in Kauffer’s 1918 Daily Herald poster made a strong communications impact in graphic design while A. M. Cassandre’s posters, such as  the furniture store Au Bucheron, are composed of broad, and simplified planes of colour.

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