Underground Images: Posters from the School of Visual Arts

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School of Visual Arts: Underground Posters

Let’s be real about advertising for a moment. In the digital age, we’re constantly bombarded with click-bait ads and promotional videos. Audiences are becoming more sensitive to these efforts, ad blockers are on the rise, and in 2017 we can expect advertising to continue its trend toward the hyper-personalized. People want human-centric design. But for the School of Visual Arts in New York City, that has never been an issue.

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Soon after opening the school, Silas H. Rhodes recognized the importance of alternative advertising to attract prospective students to SVA. He began asking faculty members to design eye-catching posters as art objects that would be placed throughout the New York City subway system. Now, decades later, the posters from the likes of Ivan Chermayeff, Milton Glaser, Stefan Sagmeister, Paula Scher and numerous others are more than just a marketing tool. Meet the “Underground Images” exhibition—a touring show featuring more than 50 SVA posters that have been displayed in the subway over the years. Under the guidance of SVA executive vice president Anthony P. Rhodes, the show has traveled around the globe.

“[Neither] my father, nor anyone else, could have envisioned what we have become,” Rhodes said at the European Design Forum. “The subway posters advertise our offerings, but [for New York’s commuters] they are also a daily reminder of the importance art plays in all of our lives.”

So far, the posters have been presented in China, Bosnia, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and more, with plans to continue expanding the show’s itinerary. To see the collection, visit http://bit.ly/SVAunderground.

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