(2021) Personal work [self-directed learning]
The travel poster of the early 1900s not only depicted attractive destinations, but persuaded the prospective buyer with images of their future fulfilment. [read more]
To add glamour to its migrational flight, a chic mallard wears the fashionable accessories we might expect to see in a Parisian boutique. Seen to have tastes that are distinctly human, the bird is partly anthropomorphised, making the onlooker better able to imagine its clumsy attempt at sophistication. As is custom for commercial posters, the unambiguous image is met with the explicitness of written text; what the esteemed designer/publisher Adrian Shaugnessy calls the lingua franca of marketing. Being that travel posters were made to be seen by passers-by, the header and strapline was read at a glance, adding to the importance of concise copy and legible typography. Though commercial posters would later become the remit of graphic designers, the travel poster reminds us of what can be accomplished when coupling design sensibilities with illustration skills.
The travel landscape has changed immensely in the last hundred years, but there remains an active market for reprints and original travel posters of that period, with prices ranging between a few hundred, to tens of thousands of US dollars. It is somewhat ironic that today there is more glamour in owning a valued original than visiting the destination it publicises. Also, there is less call for printed commercial posters where there are outdoor LCD screens, which make possible animated movement, ease of nighttime viewing, and ease of correction. And though energy is continuously used to power the screens, this reduces the heavy environmental footprint of paper based reproduction.