Chicago, Oh What a Poster Town

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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In the 1960s, designers at Container Corporation of America created a suite of posters celebrating the city they loved. The designs, coordinated by John Massey for the company, were meant to adorn kiosks throughout the Windy City as part of the Chicago Cultural Communication Project, the aim of which was “to provide the city of Chicago with a consistent series of brilliant and unusual posters calling attention to the many cultural and recreational facilities available to its population. …” However, their project never came to fruition. Only a few of the test prints survived. They found homes in institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art.

John-Paul Wolforth, who has been working on a revival of this poster project over the last couple of years, “thought these wonderful designs needed a larger audience.” So, in collaboration with the original designers, “I recreated and reprinted the posters in a limited edition of serigraphs.”


“It was not to be as easy as I had hoped. First, I had to track down the rights to the designs (lawyer, lawyers, lawyers),” Wolforth writes. “Then it started to get fun. I logged plenty of miles tracking down some of the original designers. With their help and collaboration, I was able to recreate the entire suite of posters. In addition, I was given lessons in design that rival my years of formal education. Finally, I had to find a printer that could match the brilliance of the original serigraphs. I found someone to handle the challenge at Communications Imprimées Bellemare, located in Montreal. The first offerings will be John Massey’s Chicago has a great lake, alongside another classic, John Rieben’s Chicago the town that van der rohe built. We will produce each design in a numbered edition of 100.”

Check out the designs below, as well as more of the backstory here.



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