Term Paper: Posters Have Always Carried

Pages: 7 (2441 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Physics  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Although the subject matter doesn't seem to "match" the images or colors used, it is still a powerful poster because it causes the viewer to stop and think. Both methods are successful in attracting the attention of the viewer and prompting him or her to think about the poster's message.

A graphic element that works along with the colors of a poster is that of value, or light. Both posters give the viewer an idea of how light is used to further enhance the mood of the message. Obviously, in the World War II poster, there is virtually no light worth mentioning. The dark hues only emphasize the dark mood of fear being depicted in this poster. This technique is extremely successful for this poster; in fact, it could be argued that any other technique would not have evoked anywhere near the same amount of gloom, therefore rendering the poster less effective (if not completely ineffective). In contrast, the Bradley poster has a much brighter or lighter look and feel. This gives the poster a comfortable feeling regardless of just about anything else. The light mood of the poster is also in line with the fairy tale or cartoon-like mood already represented and the knight is seen in a more positive way if he is surrounded by a light environment. Both posters illustrate the importance of light in relation to the subject matter at hand.

Another graphic element that contributes to the basic look and feel of a poster is typeface. In each of the posters being discussed, the typeface plays an important role in the message being communicated. The World War II poster demonstrates the dramatic effect plain typeface can have when used correctly. The type is intentionally bold and upper case to emphasize what the words say as opposed to the design of the typeface. It could be argued that the typeface is much like the message in this case -- they are both very blunt and straightforward. However, in the Bradley poster, the typeface is non-traditional; it draws attention to itself as well as what it has to say. The cartoon-like typeface works well with the other graphics elements of the poster as it makes the poster more interesting without being an object of distraction. Both posters represent how typeface alone can enhance the overall message of a poster, whether the message is one of a serious or light nature.

Space is another element of design that can be considered when judging the overall effectiveness of a poster. How a poster uses space can radically change how the poster is perceived, even though the use of space is not one of the first things a viewer notices. If space is used successfully, the viewer will not noticed that the poster feels cramped or if the images in the poster seem lost. Space can either be filled or not. The posters examined in this paper demonstrate the successful use of both of these instances. The World War II poster illustrates the effective use of open space by simply filling it with a gradient of red and black. These colors work with the color of the swastika and the Bible. The poster doesn't feel crowded with images nor does it seem to be lacking anything. By leaving the surrounding space empty, the viewer is left only to see what is there; the creator of this poster executed a stroke of genius by keeping the poster clean of any distractions. To represent the other side of the space issue, Bradley fills almost all of the space in his poster with the hillside, the tobacco plant, the knight, and the cloud. This poster is an example of how an artist can use many different elements and characters and have them all form a coherent message without becoming overwhelming for the viewer. Bradley carefully fills the area of the poster with images that help complete the "story" of the knight. By including the sun, the cloud, and the earth, Bradley is giving his knight a situation that the viewer can believe in. The flowing graceful horse add to the romantic mood being presented. Both posters represent how the use of space can be used effectively.

In conclusion, both posters represent effective uses of design elements. They prove that posters can capture the mood and culture of an era. They each represent a time in American history and with their depictions, they also represent the variety of posters can offer. From its earliest days in the light-hearted Art Nouveau era to the somber mood of the war era, these posters are excellent examples of how poster art can capture the sentiment of a culture or make a political statement. Each poster provides examples of how images, color, typeface, and the use of space can all work together to successfully make a statement and have literally nothing in common. Posters prove to be a flexible art form that have stood the test of time, growing and changing as culture does. They represent a small slice of the diverse attitudes, advertisements, ideas, and works of art that are displayed on posters all over the world.

Works Cited

Davidson, James West, et al. Nation of Nations. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. 1990.

Fusco, Tony. The Official Guide to Posters. New York: House of Collectibles. 1990.

Kiehl, David W. American Art Posters of the 1890s in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, including the Leonard A. Lauder Collection. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1987.

The International Poster Gallery. 3 Dec. 2003. http:www.internationalposter.com

Wong, Roberta Waddell, Brook, David, and Hitchings, Sinclair. American Posters of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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