Last week we took stock of an unassuming but really interesting book which deserves highlighting here.
‘How Posters Work’ is more than a standard exhibition catalogue. Conceived as a useful and illuminating primer in visual thinking, it explores principles of design through a range of historical and contemporary works, uncovering ideas relevant not just to the design of posters but to 2D design more generally.
The book has a unique focus on visual language. Rather than provide a history of the genre or a compilation of collectibles, the book is organised around active design principles. Concepts such as 'Simplify', 'Focus the eye', 'Exploit the diagonal', 'Reverse expectations', and 'Say two things at once' are illustrated with a diverse range of posters, from avant-garde classics and rarely seen international works to contemporary pieces by today’s leading graphic designers.
The concept, editing and design are all very simple – something we are always trying to achieve with our own books – and make this a recommended inclusion to your shelf.
Illustrated with over 150 works from the collection of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, 'How Posters Work' provides a stunning education in seeing and making, demonstrating how some of the world’s most creative designers have mobilised principles of layout, composition, psychology, and rhetoric to produce powerful acts of visual communication.