Before I get back to another attempt at formulating a brief thesis statement I want to discuss a recent show that I saw at the Dallas Museum of Art. It was a presentation of the early art of poster design. In the beginning, during the late 1800s, it was called the “affiche artistique” (artistic poster). This was the visual expression of poster deign that took place in Paris starting with Jule Chéret in the 1870s. The work was breathtaking. There are few shows that I have gone to where I walked around with my jaw dropped open.
This is an instance when the life around Paris inspired the artist to create this early form of graphic design. There is no better way to show how culture can inspire design. Now after learning more about the principles of synthesis provided by Jon Kolko, I can see how it is at play here. Artists/designers like Jules Chéret, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Pierre Bonnard took in the sights of the world that existed around them and then formulated posters that reflected their experiences. In several displays I was able to view preliminary sketches that were created before the final color lithograph or painting was made. The connection is undeniable.
During this period in Paris it was a glorious time of exploration and a case of life and culture informing design. There was such a simple connection that all viewers could identify. In our current world the origins of inspiration and the forms of visual expression are much more complex but I feel on many occassions the principles and methods behind the creation process is the same.
If you have an opportunity to see Posters of Paris: Toulousse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries — please do.