Last week, my brother was visiting from Switzerland and we had great fun exploring some of our old Chicago haunts. One of my absolute favorites is the old main branch of the Chicago Public Library, now the Chicago Cultural Center. This gorgeous building, worth a visit just to see the elaborate mosaic floors and staircases, as well as the stained glass domes, hosts many art and musical exhibitions and concerts. We happened upon a most interesting art installation, Write Now, Artists and Letterforms. This exhibition features works by more than 60 artists, using letters and texts in diverse and creative ways. The letters and the words are the art itself. It runs through the end of April so if you find yourself in Chicago, do go to see it!
So, naturally, that got me thinking about posters and the unique ways that poster artists have employed lettering styles and texts to enhance their work. One of my favorite examples is the Escargots Menetrel poster where the very word “menetrel” is written in a script to look like the tail of the snail. Rudd uses bold block letters on the rest of the poster which makes the flowing tail all the more noticeable. Another great example is the Chinese Puzzle Poster by Latchas on which both English and French words are written in the style of Chinese characters. And then there is Cassandre’s Occidental January 1948 where the artist uses the bold letter “O’s” to my mind, to symbolize the circles of hell. While the Bornibus mustard poster, Bon Appetit Bornibus, really does not use letter forms in a symbolic manner, the artist has chosen to use at least four different forms. The letters are beautiful in their own right.
I am sure that you have your own favorite examples of ways in which poster artists have used typeface as integral to the beauty and message of their posters. Share them !