History Reviewer

Timmers, M. (eds.) The Power of the Poster London: V&A Publications, 1998

This book accompanied The Power of the Poster exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in early 1998, at which I attended the accompanying conference. The book is divided into three main sections:

  • Pleasure and Leisure’, which focuses upon film and theatre posters, and upon posters that can be described as ‘art posters’, collectible as status symbols.
  • ‘Protest and Propaganda’, which deals with posters which tended to push an idea, rather than a product. It includes a focus upon some of the posters produced to push the ‘Careless Talk Costs Lives’ theme, including the 8 Fougasse posters produced in February, 1940.
  • ‘Commerce and Communication’, which deals with the development of the commercial poster since the 1880s when technology expanded the opportunities for design in posters, to the present day, ending with the ‘Hello Boys’ Wonderbra poster.

The book is well illustrated and well referenced, and provides a very good starting point for the study of the use of posters in many different ways. You may be surprised at how many you recognise!

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History Reviewer

Posters: Persuasion and Subversion

V&A, 12th-13th June, 1998

The effectiveness of the poster as a publicity medium and the pervasiveness of the poster image were examined in the context of developments in 20th century graphic communication.

The conference examined the history of the poster from the ‘artistic’ posters of the late 19th century, to the large-scale billboard campaigns of the modern day, which are an inescapable feature of the modern landscape.

Margaret Timmers edited a great text “The Power of the Poster” to accompany the conference and exhibition.

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