I love graphics. However, presenting design collateral out of context, as with the otherwise engaging "How Posters Work” exhibit I recently visited, neuters it. While I appreciated the analysis of visual strategies, viewing the works isolated from the environment in which they appeared was like learning about swimming without a pool in sight. It also raises an interesting issue: where are posters seen in public anymore? Before truly robust, well designed sustainable solutions will flourish, our psychological and political context, for starters, need to shift. So much effort is expended in "being the change,” and relatively little in creating the conditions for new innovations to propagate. We’re creating compelling posters with nowhere to display them. And I’ll be the first to admit: focusing on only half of the equation is much easier, and sexier, than trying to inflect the other. Finding ways to forge more holistic solutions requires navigating a much broader and more complex range of relationships, and not isolating just one, however dazzlingly and museum-worthy its elements might be.
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