Return of the Handmade Poster

A while back, when I was starting out as a Graphic Designer in San Francisco, there was one particular area of design that really struck me and kept a hold on me over the years. It was the amount of great poster art that designers and illustrators were producing. You couldn’t go into a studio without seeing awesome posters all over the walls. Don’t get me wrong, San Francisco was churning out some amazing posters before that time. Just look at a few 60’s concert posters from the likes of Victor Moscoso, Wes Wilson and others that pioneered the psychedelic rock poster genre. Then there was Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast of Push Pin Studios in New York. And a slew of other poster designers too numerous to mention. Fond memories are recalled of my early days as a designer, toiling away at a design studio when the mail would arrive with a cardboard poster tube. Everyone would crowd around, as it was unrolled, revealing another unique poster. We couldn’t wait to get it up on the wall.

Which brings me to how I got thinking of this in the first place. Recently the Los Angeles Times ran an article: “The reemergence of handmade posters”. Featuring some noteworthy talent in todays poster art scene. A few standouts for me are DKNG Studios out of Santa Monica, Jason Munn and Dan Stiles. In my mind, favorite posters have, for the most part, generally been the simplest. The ones you can spot from a moving train, as you glance out on a bleak landscape and they manage to catch your eye. Or see them from across the room and you immediately know what thy are about. I still tend to fall into a trance when I walk into a place like Peets Coffee and see a Michael Schwab Poster. So for all you poster designers out there, I salute you and thank you for all your hard work and talent. You give me the motivation to carry on, in hopes of achieving a poster design that will entice someone to take a look and maybe slow down long enough to enjoy an extra sip of coffee or two. How about you, do you have a favorite poster artist or style?

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