Rene Wanner's Poster Page


front cover Up against the wall - International poster design
by R. Bestley and I. Noble, published by Rotovision, (Jan 2003); 160 pages, 24 x 31 cm, 240 color illustrations; hardcover; ISBN 2-88046-561-3; in english; GBP 22.50 (about US$ 35); the sticker on the book reads GBP 29.95 / US$ 45.

I knew that Sandy K. from Berlin, and Teresa Sdralevich from Brussels would be in the book, and people from the Grapus legacy like Alex Jordan and Pierre Bernard, also David Tartakover from Israel, and Alain Le Quernec, in other words people known for their social and political posters and their passionate engagement for a better world.

Also the inflammatory cover and the agressive title (Encarta tells me it means "at knife point, at gunpoint") led me to believe that this was a book on political posters. Leafing through the pages, I found somewhat to my surprise Kenzo Izutani's hilarious "The lost file is very vexing", an IBM ad which brought him the silver medal at the Biennale 2000 in Warsaw.

Reading the introduction for enlightenment on what this book is about, finally made it clear, more or less:

"The work featured in this book from designers around the world such as Stefan Sagmeister in the US, Alain le Quernec and Association Commune in France, David Crow in England, Ralph Schraivogel in Switzerland, Koji Mizutani in Japan and Leonardo Sonnoli in Italy is united in its concern to develop and advance the traditions these designers have inherited." Aha. Maybe that concept is an example of what is now called "postmodern arbitrariness", and this is a feature, not a bug? Anyway, the book has other strengths: It is very well designed, has a title page, a table of content, page numbers (don't laugh), chapter headings, readable fonts, good reproductions with unambigous figure captions, clear page layouts, a bibliography, and an address list with all the 32 people or studios featured in the book. Above all, it has detailed and substantial background information for almost all posters, amplified by interviews with some of the designers (Sonnoli, Hamish Muir of 8vo, Tartakover, Sagmeister and Sandy K.).

We meet some of the well documented figureheads of graphic design, and in addition, it gives us a chance to look at the work of still relatively unknown artists. Sonnoli's beautiful typography posters for the City of Pesaro (IT) in particular just swept me away:

1998, Leonardo Sonnoli
Cucinare senza handicap,
a design competition on the theme of the kitchen and disability
1997, Leonardo Sonnoli
Diritti doveri
1998, Leonardo Sonnoli
Leggere nelli anni della Fenice,
for a series of lectures on children's literature
1998, Leonardo Sonnoli
Il lavoro delle donne nei borghi rurali,
an exhibition of women's fabric work in the villages
1998, Leonardo Sonnoli
Omnia Mutantur,
a group art exhibition on the theme "All is changing"

1999, Visual Research (the studio run by the authors),
poster for a lecture about a design and education research project called "We Interrupt the Programme"
1999, Studio Boot
Chinese New Year poster for the year of the rabbit
1997, 8vo
poster for the Flux music festival in Edinburgh
1996/2000, Teresa Sdralevich
The boomerang,
poster against the return of right wing ideology in Europe
2001, Sandy K.
Ak Kraak auf Reisen,
poster for a video magazine

home   other reviews  page created on February 25, 2003 / this section is part of Rene Wanner's Poster Page /