- Date: Tuesday 17 January 2017 – Friday 27 January 2017
- Time: 10:00 – 16:00
- Location: Avenue Gallery
- Cost: Free
Private View: Wednesday 25 January 5.30-8pm – all welcome.
What use is a printed poster, when we have the Internet?
Ephemeral. Vernacular. Some amateur, some professional – each one urgent! Every poster in this eclectic exhibition exemplifies clear and direct graphic communication. Some are a call to action; others issue a warning yet all communicate with clarity and urgency. Some demonstrate ruthless graphic efficiency, with little room for exposition or explanation whilst others are almost majestic in their illustrative beauty. Although most are considered great examples of graphic design in their own right, a small number waste little time with recognised typographic conventions or printing finesses.
Ironically these posters were never meant to reside in frames and as such they make for an incongruous sight in a pristine gallery. They are truly ephemeral, produced in response to an urgent need to communicate disparate and sometimes desperate messages. They are unapologetic and non-conformist. They attempt to distill complex social and political issues into singular, powerful visual statements. They rile us, and shake us out of our complacency. Unlike the World Wide Web, a poster navigates to us. A poster stops us in the street. A poster does not need a power source or a broadband signal, a like, a re-tweet or a share. Posters get in our way; they reside in the community, not just within a social media echo chamber. You can’t swipe a billboard left and right, or up and down.
In a world of transitory digital media, the posters in this exhibition – spanning the length of the 20th Century – remind us that the primary mode of mass-communication was once the preserve of printed material. It is my hope that students study these posters and use them to inspire their own design work. These posters are as vital today as they were 30 years ago. War, drink driving, unwanted pregnancy, homelessness, unemployment; these issues occupy the headlines daily and are a constant feature of many a Twitter feed.