Milton Glaser’s Dylan poster falls among his most iconic works, not too far behind his “I Heart New York” logo. This particular poster was commissioned by CBS records and was to be included with Dylan’s upcoming release. (MoMA) Additionally, it was created during a time where Dylan had been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and rumours of his death had been circulating. (MoMA)
The poster comes from the psychedelic movement—as indicated by the brightly coloured swirls that are Dylan’s hair—which was influenced by the drugs the counter cultures were finding interest in.” (MoMA) To me, the poster then feels likes a warm breeze that is thick and slow, and moves more like the ebb and flow of a large body of water rather than the crisp coolness of a typical breeze. However, this warm breeze blew by on a frosty morning. This particular warm and thick breeze happened to bring along the sweet taste of honeydew melon as represented by the bright but humble qualities of Glaser’s colour combinations. Of course, we cannot forget the tenor C Major buzz, shout and crackling that comes along with the breeze, and is indicated by the “soft-ragged” contour lines of Glaser’s representation of Dylan’s hair.
Left: Jan Tschichold, film poster for Phoebus Palast Cinema, Berlin: The Woman Without a Name and Napoleon, 1927
Right: Felipe Rocha, poster for Spotify, 2018.
The above mentioned works by Jan Tschichold and Felipe Rocha respectively, were created almost one hundred years apart, yet somehow, when place side-by-side engage in a tug of war along this very long timeline. With exception of their subject matter—old theatre vs. online streaming service—the works can almost be interchangeable with regards to their stylistic qualities.
In both cases, the first surface element the spectator is asked to interact with is the large typography and the minimal use of colour. What is particularly interesting is that ninety years later, we have returned to the same typographic styles; bold, sans-serif faces. Though Tschichold uses rotation of text to create a sense of movement, Rocha borrows this idea of breaking the grid by dispersing words along a series horizontal axis, again, to create a sense of movement, adding character to the minimalist work. Additionally, it would appear that Rocha’s work adopt’s this “non-linear” approach to hierarchy, where instead of reading left to right, the eye jumps and wonders along some form of diagonal construction. Though this is the case, the eye still ends up where it needs to be: “Best New Artists 2018 > the artists > Spotify,” as with Tschichold’s; “NAPOLEAN > picture of Napoleon > Phoebus Palast.”
Finally, the secondary elements (images) in both works appear to be cropped and are then used as graphic elements in and of themselves. Although Rocha uses several rectangles instead of one single circle (due to nature of information needing to be communicated,) both utilize negative space in a way that communicates a sense of play / youthfulness / entertainment that is ultimately respective to their time periods.
With an increase in literacy during the 19th century and the rapid production of typographic-based posters, visual chaos overwhelms the streets. A hopelessly fine visual metaphor for the anxieties produced by the industrial revolution, and a new culture of consumption.
LITERACY CULTIVATES EPHEMERA MACHINES EXPEDITE INDUSTRY.