Posters have a long and rich history documenting everything from boxing matches to Bollywood films, the Soviet Revolution to punk, encouraging young men to join the army to persuading women to buy bras. There are many collections in books in museums and galleries and on the internet. Find out more about your own particular areas of interest.
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This is an enormous subject
The first collection I looked at was the V&A (1):
The V&A collects posters on an international scale, with over 10,000 objects in the Prints and Drawings Department, and significant holdings in other departments. The Museum has had an active collecting policy throughout the twentieth century and now holds the national collection.
According to information on the V&A site
The earliest posters or playbills measured about 17.5 x 7.5 cms (7″ x 3″). We know that some were printed by 1587
Larger posters began to appear in London influenced by the French theatre around 1672. In the 19th C posters started to appear for circuses. Thee were printed on the new letterpresses.
By the end of the century theatres started to use coloured posters. These were influenced by the french poster artists, Chèret and Henri de Toulouse Lautrec.
I love this poster. I love the colours and the simplicity of it. I like the way the entire poster is filled with colour. I have collected theatre programmes all my life. I love the theatre and theatre posters. But I also like film posters. Our local cinema in France have a great collection of recent film posters. The cinema was taken over about three years ago by a group of young cinema enthusiasts.
There are some wonderful film posters on this site(3) of all the well known films. Some I remember and some I don’t. I don’t remember this one but I thought it really showed the film content in a poster. Very clever design think.
World Wars at the beginning of the 20th century affected the production of letterpress posters. By the middle of this century typographical posters became the most common.
In the ’60s poster art came into its own influenced by the Pop Art movement. Then in the ’70s artists began to experiment with photographs and photo montage on posters. Today posters are considered part of the marketing process for productions. But I was sad to read this on the V&A site:
Posters may no longer be the major form of theatre advertising but they are still an essential part of any marketing strategy for a production. Their design is probably harder to get right now than it was over 400 years ago, when the earliest posters hit the posts.
There is an amazing Poster Study Guide on the V&A site (2)
The next poster collection I looked as was the Deutsches Historisches Museum(4).
The first historical museum poster collection I looked at was that held in he German Historical Museum. This was a little scary with so many political type posters. This is the ‘raison d’être’ for this museum. I realised very quickly that I do not like these type of posters. Inciting people to support various political actives, or indeed politicians, makes me uneasy. However there were a couple in the image displays which I found amusing.
This first one is so alien to my ideas as a feminist principles.
My Pride and the secret of my housewifely success. Is the GASCOOKER!!!!
I loved the colours of this one.
But I realise I find the old posters very static. I found myself gravitating towards modern rock and pop posters. This site (5) has some great examples.
- Posters – Victoria and Albert Museum. 2017. Posters – Victoria and Albert Museum. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.vam.ac.uk/page/p/posters/. [Accessed 07 August 2017].
- Posters Study Guide – Victoria and Albert Museum. 2017. Posters Study Guide – Victoria and Albert Museum. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/p/study-guide-posters/. [Accessed 07 August 2017].
- Movie Poster Art Gallery: Catalogue Page 1.. 2017. Movie Poster Art Gallery: Catalogue Page 1.. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.mpag.co.uk/newitemspage1.htm. [Accessed 09 August 2017].
- Deutsches Historisches Museum: Poster Collection. 2017. Deutsches Historisches Museum: Poster Collection. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.dhm.de/en/collections-
- Vintage original music and rock posters for sale, Catalogue Page 1.. 2017. Vintage original music and rock posters for sale, Catalogue Page 1.. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.rock-explosion.com/catpage1.html. [Accessed 09 August 2017].
- graphicdesign. 2017. The Danish Museum of design – graphicdesign. [ONLINE] Available at: https://graphicdesignnuala.wordpress.com/category/reviews/museums/the-danish-museum-of-design/. [Accessed 09 August 2017].