This exhibit was created in 1996 as an independent class project for ILS726 to be displayed in the Internet Public Library’s Exhibit Hall. All of the works displayed are owned by the Labadie Collection which resides in the Special Collections Library at the University of Michigan.

“The dictionary defines a poster as “a large, usually printed placard, bill, or announcement, often illustrated, that is posted to advertise or publicize something.” A second definition describes posters as “tools of commerce through their advertising of goods, services, and entertainment, or as a means of propaganda.” Since the development of sophisticated lithographic techniques in the late nineteenth century, poster-making has become an inexpensive and quick means of mass-communication. Through the use of size, bold color, simple messages, and visible and clear forms, posters have the ability to make complex and direct statements. There is an emphasis on content in a poster, as the poster maker is dealing, in a sense, with direct speech. Nowhere is this more evident than in contemporary advertising. However, the advertising artist is not the only creator to master the art of poster design. Poster art has long been a cheap, easy, and sometimes anonymous means of communicating non-mainstream messages and political ideologies. In this exhibit you will see some examples of artists, all of them unknown to us, who have employed various techniques and effects to convey messages of anger and discontent, as well as harmony and cooperation.”

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