The End of A Poster Era

It is sad to report the passing of designers, especially those who have contributed unique form and content to the graphic design language. Last week, the Krakow-born Franciszek Starowieyski (1930 -2009), one of the masters of the great postwar Polish poster “school,” died. He was 79. [Update: corrected, thanks design diva!] His macabre style typified the Polish tradition, which wed expert draftsmanship to Symbolist and Surrealist aesthetics. His imagery was an oasis of dark and light; his vision–harsh at times–was tempered by wit and humor. Whether American illustrators knew it or not, his approach had a huge impact on editorial illustration of the 1980s and ’90s. I for one, had a copy of Frank V (1962) (above) hanging on my wall for years. Look here for a gallery of his work. And books of Starowieyski’s posters are available here.

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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.