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GSA Archives and Collections Flickr. Poster Archive

GSA Archives and Collections Flickr. Poster Archive

Posters as a form of graphic design are unique as one of the few genres of art that is created explicitly to be stuck on a wall. Inherently linked to the everyday, you will have seen and absorbed more posters in your life than any other form of visual art. While the concept of a poster, as a sign that advertises something, has existed in some form since the beginning of life in societies, posters as a form of commercial graphic design are a relatively recent phenomenon.

Poster for a talk by Lily Greenham, late 20th century (Archive Reference: GSAA/EPH.10/178)

Poster for a talk by Lily Greenham, late 20th century (Archive Reference: GSAA/EPH.10/178)

The emergence of this specialist field of design has links with the rapid expansion of the world of business, technology and industrialisation and of course, as an art school the students and staff here at the GSA have created posters to advertise events within the School since its opening. Due to the generous donations made by past staff and students the Archives and Collections now boasts a rich collection of posters dating from 1919 onwards.

Poster for The Glasgow School of Art fashion show, April 1978 (Archive Reference: GSAA/EPH/10/58)

Poster for The Glasgow School of Art fashion show, April 1978 (Archive Reference: GSAA/EPH/10/58)

Recently our volunteers have been conducting work on our Poster Collection to ensure that all of the descriptions for each poster are accurate and the digitised images that currently exist are available for our users to download. You can see the full information on our Poster Collection on the Archives and Collections Catalogue here, and images of the posters here.

The GSA Library also holds extensive literature on the development of posters, their design, use in entertainment, information distribution and propaganda. For further information on the Library’s holdings please see their online catalogue here and see ‘Resources Used’ below. Until next time!

Resources Used

The Hunterian, The Art of the Poster

The Atlantic, The Art of the Poster

The Verge, Mondo and the lost art of the movie poster

Wikipedia, Poster

Graphics: A Century of Poster and Advertising Designby Alain Weill

The Poster: A Worldwide Survey and History, by Alain Weill

Visual Language for Designers: principles for creating graphics that people understand, by Connie Malamed