The 1930’s were depressing but the poster were LIT (like a cigarette) but I don’t endorse smoking of any kind. Lucky Strike cigarettes, however, claimed that it was good for your health and until they got told off. The Work Projects Administration (WPA). 2000 posters were produced. (1936-43) This created jobs in such a trying time, especially for graphic artists. The poster styles were varied throughout. Starting off simplistic, presenting themselves with a simple beautiful image for advertising in movies and travel until the posters got more cluttered. More words were added to aid in selling of the products but as a result it was a mess. 🙂
This era is known for its lack of jobs and fall of the American economy after the Wall Street Crash in 1929 though the Great Depression also affected other nations at varying times. Many men were struggling to obtain jobs to feed their starving families. This perpetuated a kind of “hobo culture” (according to John) that included many of the homeless crossing illegally into other nations and cities by trains in their search for employment. This phenomenon was famously archived by Dorothea who took pictures famous portraits such as the “Migrant Mother”. It is known today as being the photograph that defined the depression.
Design and Type
For my last spread, my group decided to do a design and further research on the Works Projects Administration (WPA) Poster Collection which was active from 1936 50 1943. These posters helped in promoting different exhibits, activities, theater programs as well as bringing education to the general public on different issues. Most of these posters had the strongest representation from California, Illinois, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. This administtration also helped struggling artists get jobs after the impact of the Great Depression as part of the New Deal Works Administration. Many of these posters would help bring social change by promoting positive ideals. Nowadays, the posters serve as a great historical record.
The SEE AMERICA posters in particular was a beautiful celebration of America’s treasured parks and sites and contained a very minimalist design and little text. It was a great way to look into America’s past of very simple yet distinct imagery and a clear message. This was a huge contrast to later posters that focus highly on promoting with obnoxious and text heavy catchphrases and slogans.
A fun but perhaps more unfortunate fact is that WPA poster artists were not supposed to sign their work so it is sometimes difficult to tell attribute artists to their amazing creations. ): The poster style used during this time was also disparaged as being mass produced commercial garbage but these posters are almost timeless and look similar to the minimalist aesthethic in media we have today and should be commemorated.