Art, Design, and Theatre Faculty Presentations


Literature, Culture, Posters, and the Designer

Document Type

Poster Session

Event Date



University & College Designers Association Design Education Summit


Blacksburg, VA


Equipping young design students with excellent technical skills, good design concepts and all the while helping them engage them with significant-content for their designs to impact culture is a challenge. The poster has long been a popular art and communication form in popular culture. The French Art Nouveau era saw such masters as Jules Chéret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec utilize the poster to advertise popular entertainment of the day.

With the advent of the Modern movement, posters were used in many way including propaganda for war efforts by combatants on all sides of the world war conflicts. James Montgomery Flagg and Alfred Leete were two of those artists producing war posters.

Post Cubist artists such as A.M. Cassandre and Joseph Binder produced posters for the travel and entertainment industries.

More recent artists using the medium of the poster include Saul Bass and Milton Glaser. Their posters reacted to and influenced popular culture.

Interdisciplinary integration is an important part of the educational process. I designed a project for the Advanced Graphic Design course that integrates a study of the literature of popular culture and design within the medium of the poster. The assignment was to choose a science fiction or fantasy novel, read the novel and produce a report on the book. The report was to contain a summary of the story and a description of the primary characters in the story.

After the paper is written, the student is to imagine the book is made into a feature length film. The assignment is then to develop a marquee poster that would be used to publicize the film.

All imagery for the poster is required to be original including any photography or illustrations. Proper work flow is used as the images are developed in Photoshop and typographic design is managed in InDesign.

Different versions of the project have been developed over the last few years. One variations is to have the student create their own story plot and cast of characters.

The results of the project have been phenomenal.