Imaginary Interview with Peter Behrens

Imaginary Interview with Peter Behrens

An interview with Peter Behrens a painter who turned to a graphic designer

Image result for Peter Behrens, AEG (General Electric Company) poster, c. 1910

Peter Behrens, AEG (General Electric Company) poster, c. 1910

Q: Salutation Mr. Behrens for having made it to the interview, it is a pleasure to have you. Your figure design sends a special sense of gesture, what was the idea behind it? And how did you accurately capture it in the graphic

A: Thank you, first of all, I love and respect people who support my work and this is what you are doing. Actually, the gesture is a redesign of the arc lamp. When I was re-designing the lamp, I had in mind the public buildings, railways stations, and warehouse. Basically, it was about decorating special forms that can accord with the actual character of an item that incorporates the new technology.

Talking of capturing the whole idea, it was pretty simple because it is all about learning to see the total figure and then figure out how different part would relate to the whole body. It is pure thinking and creativity, provided you have the picture in mind you can’t miss capturing it in the graphic.

Q: What impact did it have? I mean, I like the art but am curious how did people receive.

A: Well, the impact was phenomenal, I have no doubt. At the turn of the 19th century, the retailer uses to sell unanimous white label products which were manufactured in industries. Therefore, it was difficult for customers to identify the product that was of high quality as all products were uniform as they were standardized as such, they had no choice as far as the design of the product is concerned. Moreover, the lack of labels and brand names made it even challenging for consumers and so I had to redesign the lamp in such a way that it can incorporate all this aspect. To distinguish the product from the competitors. And looking back it was worth it because the impact was massive.

Q: Why the dark white colour?

A: The white color is actually a symbolism of the lamp because the lamp is a symbol of light. So, the whole idea was that we are bringing light into darkness but this time in a different version. The picture does tell that something is different from the common lights that were available in a different part. For instance, the design heralds a new age of capitalism which consequently had a superb impression within the market place

Q: What impact did the lamp had on people’s perception of the artist?

A: It changed the way people perceive artist to some great extent. For instance, over the past artist were seen as to give form to the culture in which they come or live. However, the wake of industrialization and modernity called the artist to advance their work to blend with the spirit and the movement of the moment.

Q: So, the graphic removed the aspect of history and culture?

A: Not entirely, we had to create designs that could project the societal rhythm and spirit that reflected modernity and not replicating historical models and any other old age forms associated with the past. Therefore, artist strived to create good design and at the same time trying not to pursue functionality at the expense of aesthetics. And like you see the design, I chose not to emphasize much on functionality, instead, I had to contextualize my design in such a way that it looked like modern construction that contextualizes the dynamic political as well as the social environment of the early 2oth century.





Work Cited:

Anderson, S. (2002). Peter Behrens and a new architecture for the twentieth century. Mit Press: 11-43

Kelly, Mike: Imaginary Interview – Hans Chrsitansen/Andromeda

Mike Kelly – Feb/15/2019

An Imaginary Interview with Hans Christiansen  

Hans Christiansen, Andromeda, 1898. Art journal cover. Jugend, Munich, Germany.

Hans Christiansen, Andromeda, 1898. Art journal cover. Jugend, Munich, Germany.

Q – Good day. My name I Michael Kelly and I am seated here with German artist and designer Hans Christiansen, not to be confused with the English author. The piece we will be covering today, no pun intended, is your cover for the prolific, Munich-based  art journal Jugend, Mr. Christiansen. What can you tell me about it? 

Hans Christiansen

Hans Christiansen

A – Good day, Mr. Kelly. I am glad to be here today to tell you about the cover I produced for George Hirth, the founder of the magazine. I decided to name the cover Andromeda, after the Greek Myth where she is saved by the heroic Perseus from a terrible sea serpent, but instead of including the male hero, I focused on the princess’s legendary beauty, using it to bend the serpent to her will. The flames which both spell out the journal’s title and surround her and her pet is a display of this power, the power of the female body.  

Q – Can you tell me why you decided to go with the serpent and flames, along with the very warm colour palette of yours? When I look at many of your contemporaries, and even some of your other work, you share the motif of the beautiful woman, but not the flowers and natural settings, which is atypical of this  movement becoming known as Jugendstil,  or “Youth Style,” for our other readers. Can you explain that?

A – Honestly, this is an era to explore what has not been explored as much. This movement is not limited to those motifs. We designers and illustrators of the Jugend covers have a way to express ourselves and the new ideas we have to offer. I wanted to stand out, like the other artist who have also done something different with their designs. You should know, I take my work as an artist as general as possible. And when your competition is making covers with mostly cool palettes, a bold, warm palette will catch the eyes of all who pass by it. 

Q – You mentioned George Hirth earlier. What did this commission involve?

A- The two of us have quite a history together when it comes to Jugend. Since I arrived in Munich, I have been a designer for Mr. Hirth’s covers for a long time. As long as I am available to do a commission, I meet with Mr. Hirth during the day in his home in which we go over what he would like and the restrictions surrounding the design, as well as some contents of the journal, incase that will impact my design. I usually have free reign over the content, with my track record with my work, but some requirements would be that it is not too geometric, making sure I redesign the title in a new and interesting way, ensuring that the title is readable. 

Q – Seeing as how Mr. Hirth is very pleased by your artistic style and quality of work, along with your other clients, who, or what influenced you when creating this, or any, of your designs? 

A – This new art movement that has been seen popping up around Europe originated in Paris, and I so happened to stay there during the time of 1896 to 1899, and it had a great impact on my work. To begin with, there are many beautiful women who live there, so of course I must try and capture that beauty in my designs. On a more serious note, a major influence from my time in Paris was Le Nabis, as well as Alphonse Mucha and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. I must also admit, like many of my contemporaries, that some Japonism influenced my creations, but who has not seen that work and wished to create it with a spin of their own? In fact, their limited colour palette is what helped me decide on simplifying the design of my Andromeda. 

Q – I did not know that! Back to your work, are all Jugend cover designers required to redesign the title? 

A – Yes, every one of them. But what separates the likes of me from the others is how I incorporated the title into the design, even party obscuring it with the serpent. Yes, other designers and artists incorporate the title into their designs as well, but Otto Eckmann simply printed a new typeface onto his design. 

Q – It has been an honour, Mr. Christiansen. I hope to see more of your work in the future.



Works Cited

Anonymous. “George Hirth (1841-1916).” Jugend Magazine, georg-hirth.html.

Anonymous. “Hans Christiansen Biography – Infos – Art Market.” Hans Christiansen Biography – Infos – Art Market, Art Market,

Anonymous. “Jugendstil Movement Overview.” The Art Story, Art Story Foundation,

in Art, Magazines | September 1st. “Download Hundreds of Issues of Jugend, Germany’s Pioneering Art Nouveau Magazine (1896-1940).” Open Culture, Open Culture, jugend-germanys-pioneering-art-nouveau-magazine-1896-1940.html.

Imaginary Interview with Lucian Bernhard

Interview with German graphic and Type Designer Lucian Bernhard, born as Emil Kahn (March 15, 1883 – May 29, 1972) talking about his poster Priester Matches c. 1905

Alessandra Crupi (3161726)

220px-lucien_bernhard_1955   md_bernhardl_priester_640

Q: Hello I am Alessandra Crupi, sitting down with one of the most innovative Berlin based designers Lucian Bernhard. Let me start out by saying how honoured I am by being given the opportunity to sit down and chat with you today, especially about your influential style.

A: I am honoured, thank you. Please ask me anything, I am happy to answer any questions involving my work.

Q: I would like to start off at the beginning, the point that started your journey as an artist. You were influenced greatly by the explosion of Art Nouveau and Jugendstil when you were young correct? Can you tell us a little bit about that?

A: Yes I was indeed. I had visited the Munich’s Glaspalast, where I came across the exhibition of European Art Nouveau applied arts. Instantly I was in complete shock and awe.

Q: This included artists work such as Jules Chéret, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Alfonse Mucha correct?

A: Yes it did. In addition to the maquettes for the advertising posters created by Beggarstaffs, James Pryde and William Nicolson. The works were all lined up, and seemed to go on for ages. I like to joke around and say that I was walking drunk with colour through the exhibit that day. 


Quinquina Dubonnet by Jules Cheret c. 1896

Q: It sounds incredible, I could not imagine what it was like seeing it in person! This then inspired you to follow your new found interest and move to Berlin at a young age, is that right?

A: I couldn’t help myself, I was viewing life in an entirely different way. So yes, I moved after being kicked out of my house by my father, story for another time. I eventually landed in Berlin, during a time where industrial commercialism and production were talking off. 

Q: A lot was happening around the world at the time. Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec were hard at work. Picasso was in the middle of his famous Blue period. Edvard Munch was painting “Girls on the Bridge” and Max Klinger was sculpting “Nietzsche.” Where you intimidated at all about the changes in your life and others working around you?

A: Of course, a little depressed actually. Initially all I was doing was writing poetry for magazines hoping they would get published. But I believe this hard time lead me to making decisions on the whim, one which benefitted me in created the career I have today.

Q: This would be the poster contest for the Priester Match Company? The main focus of todays conversation. These competitions were usually sponsored by Berlin businesses. You had access in some ways to previous designs, but you decided to take a different approach. Can you comment and take us through the creative process for us?

A: Absolutely! Well to begin, my initial design was a complete scene. The whole scene of a table with a checkered table cloth, matches and a cigar which smoke created the beautiful silhouette of a woman’s body. Then I finished with the hand lettering Priester. A dark colour scheme, mostly browns and maroons, opposite of what was expected at the time was also what I was aiming for. But I decided after reviewing it myself and with others that they drew the viewers attention away from the focus, the matches of course. So I started again. Began by reducing imagery, eventually ending up with the matches and yellow tips + the brand name, Priester. 

Q:  The reviewing process helped a lot in your case. This last minute judgement sky rocketed your career after you were rewarded first prize hadn’t it?

A: Yes indeed. I was able to use the publicity to benefit and help get my career off the ground. Leading me to create countless other posters for a range of different German AND foreign products such as posters, furniture and interiors. Changed my life to say the least. This then lead to the creation of my own studio.


Bosch Licht (Bosch headlights) by Lucian Bernhard c. 1913


Novelta Cigarettes Lucian Bernhard c. 1912

Q: Well you deserve all the success! You’ve had a big influence on the design world following the release of the Priester Matches! Looking back, we can see the influence it had on type manufacturers with the hand written lettering. A lovely technique to say the least but this influence grew……

A: Yes! Influencing a range of other designers too! Well it started the creation of Sachplakat or Object Poster. I wanted to create a new visual language and that is what followed. By removing everything superfluous, I was able to get a quick reaction from the viewer by creating connections between image and text. 

Q: Thank you so much for your time today Lucian! Your work has been inspiring for decades and for young designers such as myself. Your legacy will continue through your extensive collection of work.

Works Cited

“1997 AIGA Medalist: Lucian Bernhard.” AIGA | the Professional Association for Design,

Bauhaus Typography, Graphic Design History , 2011,

McBroom, Brock. “Lucian Bernhard.” History of Graphic Design,

Nelson, Holly. “The Emergence of Modernism in Early 20th Century American Advertising: Lucian Bernhard and His REM Cough Syrup Advertisements.” National Museum of American History, 29 Nov. 2016

Imaginary Interview: Jules Cheret

Interview with Jules Cheret discussing his new release Folies- Bergere poster La Loie Fuller


Hey there Jules would you like to introduce yourself to the readers?

Hello there, I’m Jules cheret I am an French artist I lived in London for a while until 1860 when I decided to move here to Paris where I now resided. I currently own a print shop and produce illustration poster for Folies Bergere.

That’s amazing to hear, also congratulation on your stellar work you did. The La Lois Fuller was a great hit with the crowed.

Why thank you, I’m also so happy about the response from the public, I never thought it would blow up to be this big. Seeing how while my last print Fleur de lotus did I’m happy to see people enjoying the new piece La Lois Fuller.

Tell me Jules, what inspired you to create the La Lois Fuller poster design?

The inspiration started with the American dancer Loie fuller. In the poster, I designed her to be spinning pose from the dance she performs called serpentine dance. In the performance, there are lighting that changes in various colours that reflects off of her silk gown while she is dance. The various light change creates an immerse experience being mesmerised by her dance as the colours switches between every movement she makes. Loie fuller’s performance along with the rococo style are a match since the style of rococo helps emphasis the female figure as well playful colour array in the dress.

You mention about rococo art playing a big part in your art style and career? 

My style does mainly revolve around the rococo style and how I illustrated the figures but view the style as like a trait in my art like how other art style influence my work. As time passes the rococo style has evolved also from Morris used in royal paintings to Boucher where he added nudity changing the innocents of the style. the style now has become more sexualized as of the current rococo style it holds both traits of Morris’ and Boucher’s take on the style. How I implanted the style into my work is using the similar to Boucher’s take sexualized present of the female character, and the playfulness of Morris’ but I have added the colour into the print. But I still do have other influences that help me push my style further.

Jules, what are some of the other art styles that influencing your work?

Other forms of art style that have influence me is Japanese art. In Japanese art, these an art style called ukiyo-e which is a style of print a woodblock print. I found myself and other French artists to be inspired by Japanese art. An example would be my Les Girard print I implemented traits such as the spatial legs and free handing text. This allowed for me to stylize my work epically free hand the text in the poster. Since we have grown so accustomed to the pre-set text create if felt a bit limiting known what I had control in making what mine in the illustration. As for the text, I wanted the text to have some connection to the illustrations on poster so I have the letters mimic the movement of the dancer and this helped created unity in my prints and jouissance. I was also inspired by circus posters I saw while living in England. The poster had so much colour and amazing compositions this what I looking for to have with my illustrations.

That’s amazing to hear I have to say you also have done many amazing things yourself, what are some of your greatest achievements so far in your career?

I have to say my greatest achievement have to be my two exhibitions that I had here in Paris this also lead me to receive my award and becoming a chevalier of the Legions. I have to say it all been amazing, and to shows how many people wanting to see my work truly being a smile to me and shows how far I have grown as well as my audience.

That’s all the time we have for today, thanks for doing this interview and congratulation again you’re on amazing work.

Not at all, it was my pleasure for being here today I hope readers enjoy and learned more about me.


cites / references

Cate, Phillip D. La Belle Époque De Jules Chéret: De l’Affiche Au Décor. vol. 18, University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Eskilson, Stephen J. Graphic Design: A New History. Yale University Press, 2012.

Jules Chéret, Le Loie Fuller poster, Museum of Acquire. 1893

Imaginary Interview – Henri de Toulouse Lautrec

Interview with Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, French painter, printmaker and designer, on the poster entitled La Troupe de Mademoiselle Eglantine by Alissa Leung

Toulouse lautrec

Henri de Toulouse Lautrec


La Troupe de Mademoiselle Eglantine (Mademoiselle Eglantine’s Troupe). 1896. Poster. Brush, spatter and crayon lithograph, printed in three colours. Keystone printed in turquoise, colour stones in red and yellow on wove paper. 24 ¼ x 31 ¼ in.

Q: Hello! I’m Alissa Leung. Today we have the famous graphic designer, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec here with me.  Lautrec, it’s such a great pleasure to meet you.

*shake hands* No, no, no please, the pleasure is all mine, mademoiselle Leung.”

Q: To begin with, could you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you gain your interest in art?

I was born into an aristocratic family in Albi, France. It was a quiet place and I was mostly bedridden. As you can see, *points at his legs and short stature*, I was born with congenital illnesses and had many accidents in my youth – I loved the outdoors and wanted to be normal. Thankfully, my tutor encouraged me to channel my passion for physical activities into art. It was one place I could be normal and I found that my disabilities gave me my “superpower”. I could easily disappear into the crowds and it became my hobby to silently spy on others observing their every move. I guess this is why they say I have remarkable observation skills. *chuckles*

Q: Your observation of the human figure is exceptional! I know that before you got into graphic prints and the advertising industry, you were a post-impressionist painter. How has your style changes over time?

That’s right. I worked primarily as a painter. My paintings explore the intimate interactions in everyday subjects. I was introduced to colour lithography in 1891, it has immediately become my greatest obsession. My style changed from realistic depiction to a more abstract depiction of the psychological makeup of my subjects.

Q: Despite your aristocratic background, your taste was very much alike with the general public. Why is that?

Yes. I am absolutely a populist. I guess this is because I share a bohemian life with the dancers, artists, prostitutes and demimonde around me. I enjoyed it.

Q: I am aware that most of your works depict the nightlife of Paris. Where did you get your inspirations?

I have a tendency to visit popular cafes, concert halls and Montmartre’s nightclubs. Places such as the cabarets naturally became my source of inspiration. I am eager to capture the places I visited and the performances I saw.

Q: Since you talked about carabets, I am particularly interested in your poster La Troupe de Mademoiselle Eglantine. How did this project begin?

I was commissioned by my close friend, model and muse – Jane Avril to create a poster for her London tour in 1986 when she performed as part of La Troupe de Mlle Eglantine. The troupe also include Mlle Eglantine, Cléopatre and Gazelle. I have to say because of my close relationship with Avril, I paid extra attention to her. Although she is the furthest on the left, I purposely placed her a bit forward than the other dancers and kicking in a more exaggerated manner. The aim of the poster is to evoke the excitement of this wild and energetic movement of the can-can dancers. And of course to boost the ticket sales for the performance!

Q: It surely does fulfill its goals! Could you tell me more about the process of creating this work? Did you face any challenges?

I have actually never seen the troupe perform. It was a challenge for me to picture how they dance as a group. I worked from a combination of a photograph of the troupe and memory when I sketch. I first draft them in graphite and in a thinned oil. Then I make my blueprint in colour. Avril was very satisfied with it. Then the design was transferred into lithograph for mass-production.

Q: Could you tell us more about the techniques you used in this poster and maybe your inspirations that helped to make specific decisions?

I was very much influenced by Japanese prints. I absorbed the qualities of the Japanese aesthetic that I found most interesting: simplified curvilinear black contour lines, asymmetrical composition, flattened colours and large empty space filled with abstract elements of colour and line. In the process, I found my own style.

As can-can is a very energetic dance that involves high kicking, I used organic and expressive lines to depict the energetic movement of the dance. Their legs, petticoats and plumed hats are all in the air. I would say my figures are very natural and true to the subject. I do not have a tendency to idealize my figures. I used a diagonal perspective, flat bright yellow in the background and red in the text to direct the viewer’s attention. The yellow background represents the excitement generated from the performance. The red texts contrast with the yellow on the floor to make it stand out from the poster.

Oh! I also incorporated the name of the leader into the title of the poster. Instead of putting Mlle Eglantine under the title, I shrink the size for ’“L-L-E” and placed her surname under.

Q: That is clever! I am sure it gained a lot of support. How do you think this work or your works, in general, have contributed to the graphic design and will impact graphic designs further?

Well, the troupe did publish the poster and it was successful in advertising the performance. So I think it lived up to its goal. I think my work, in general, was a chronicle of the modern, a depiction of the contemporary people, places, and events in turn-of-century Paris. They reflected a new visual culture where arts can be perceived in a common place like streets and create the impression that posters were as artistically valid and strongly related to the fine arts. I am hoping to raise the status of what is seen as low art to high art.

Q: Thank you so much for having this conversation with me. It was a great pleasure meeting you!

It was a pleasure to meet you as well.  



Works Cited:


Birnholz, Alan Curtis. “Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 5 Feb. 2019,

Suzuki, Sarah. The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters from the Museum of Modern Art. Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2014.


Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri d., et al. Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the Belle Époque. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal; Paris; Washington, D.C;, 2016.



Imaginary Interview with Lucian Bernhard

ddLucian Bernhard.

Q. Hi. I am Dana Oh. Today we are here with a very influential graphic designer, Lucian Bernhard who is best known as an inventor of Sachplakat. Before we proceed our interview, thank you for taking your time to come and speak with us today.

A. It is my pleasure to having a chance to share my story and work. Thank you.

Q. We all know you as an inventor of Sachplakat who opened new path for the advertisement in Germany as well as in north America. Can you briefly tell us about yourself and explain what Sachplakat is?

A. I was born in Stuttgart as Emil Kahn but changed my name to Lucian Bernhard and worked mainly as a poster and type designer. Largely, I had to learn art by myself since my family did not supported my artistic aspirations. However I did get a chance to study at Akademi der Kunst, Munich, and in Berlin later on (“Bernhard, Lucian). I launched my career at Berlin, Germany and moved to New York around 1920 to open a studio and work on American business advertisements. To briefly explain what Sachplakat is, it means an “object-poster” (Stephen, 110) or also known as Plakatstil which was originated in Germany as an early style of poster design. The common characteristics of Sachplakat are simplified shapes and object, and composition focus on the central object. The first art work that I used Sachplakat style was Priester Matches (fig. 1) which was most successful work that introduce myself and Sachplakat in the world.


3556d17a71fb4d172463b70635cbac03Fig. 1 Lucian Bernhard, Priester Matches, 1905, Poster.

Q. That is amazing. It is always challenging to break an old, traditional style and create a new one. Can you explain how you ended up applied Sachplakat style for your Priester matches poster which was produced specifically for the poster competition help by Priester match company?

A. Well, When I first moved back to Berlin, I decided to enter a poster competition for the Priester match company. At that time this type of contest was pretty common but I chose this contest specifically. One day I was walking down the street while thinking about this poster, I saw a lot of Art Nouveau style of posters on the wall. Some of the problems that came up to my mind was that all the posters are exceedingly decorative with unnecessary elements which distract’ poster’s purpose and its information. It was hard to understand the context with an instant look. As an example like a poster for Job (fig.2) cigarette paper done by Alphonse Mucha. The intention of this poster was to sell cigarette, but there are too much distracted, unnecessary elements are in such as beautiful woman, her hair, and ornamented border. Therefore, I decided to make a poster with simple image, with limited text but addressing main purpose forthrightly.

poster-advertising-job-cigarette-papers-1896_u-l-pmysfz0Fig. 2 Alphonse Mucha, Job cigarette paper, 1897, Color lithographic poster

Q. As an artist, we always have to look up some precedents to get inspiration otherwise it is really difficult to came up with creative ideas. To create you Priester math poster, was there any influence?

A. Obviously yes. When I was in teenage, I had a chance to visit Munich’s Galaspalast to saw exhibition of European Art Nouveau applied arts. Nothing was interesting to me except the one, a small economical advertising poster done by Beggarstaff Brothers; James Pryde and William Nicolson (“1997 AIGA”). By looking at Beggarstaff’s work Harper’s (fig.3), their use of simplified forms and cut paper style of subject matter (Gayel, 10) as well as its radically abstract image with flat tone exerted a strong influence on me. As well as, I was also influenced by Japanese printing style called Japonisme. Especially their use of wood block print called Ukiyo-e or “floating world”(Stephen, 62) and their use of bold passage, lack of three dimensional perspective space, asymmetrical composition, and use of crisp linear elements also influenced to create a poster.

Q. Your poster looks relatively simple compare to other posters of Art Nouveau style. Was there any specific technique that you used to create your poster?

A. Unfortunately, I did not use any fancy new technique for this poster, however I use unusual colour, brown flat background which was unusual colour at that time. At that time, posters were either black or bright primary colours. Instead of adding beautiful woman or decorative element, I removed any elements that has possibilities to compete with the matches for the viewer’s attention (Stephen, 108). As well as, used Japonisme style by adding powerful images and colours to capture pedestrian’ eyes, with strong and direct message (Alain, 100).

Q. That is still amazing that you step out of old tradition and tried new ideas.

A. Thank you. Other than those techniques while I was working on the poster, I tried to keep this phrase in mind “here is the products, this is its name” (Stephen, 110). Simple, straightforward, direct. I tried to focus and emphasize only on the name of the brand, and their product.

Q. It is easy to get off the track while working on an art work. Were there any difficulties before, during, or maybe after your production of Priester match poster?

There were a lot of difficulties, but the biggest one was to simplify the poster. Since my eyes and style was used to decorative Art Nouveau style of posters, I kept added graphic elements such as cigar, smoke, dancing girls, ashtray, and checkered tablecloth to balance the composition. The initial poster was exactly like other Art Nouveau style. I was so proud of my outcome and strongly believed that I will be the first place. However, like wasn’t like a fairy tale. My poster was immediately thrown into the garbage and rejected from the judges. While I got shocked by the result, surprisingly, the poster was rescued by an executive of advertisement agency Hollerbaum and Schmidt. (Stephen, 100). I had to change my poster by gradually remove all the unnecessary elements and leave only the red matches with yellow tips and the brand name (“1997 AIGA”). It took a little bit of time, but my poster was saved from the trash, and I was able to win the first place. He became one of my important client for a while. am still feel thankful to him, otherwise Sachplakat style or even I might not exist in the design world. Or even I won’t be here and doing interview with you. *laughter*

Q. We should be thankful to him as well *smile*. Anyways, thank you so much for your time. Your design will forever be influential in the world, as well as for future designers.

A. It was my pleasure. Thanks for inviting me.


Alain, Weill. “The Poster: A worldwide survey and history”, G.K Hall and Co, June 1985.

“Bernhard, Lucian (1883–1972).” The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Graphic Design and Designers, Alan Livingston, and Isabella Livingston, Thames & Hudson, 3rd edition, 2012. Credo Reference, Accessed 09 Feb. 2019.

Gayle Richardson, “Posters From Past and Present: A report of a senior study”, Maryville College, 2010.

Stephen J, Eskilson, “Graphic design: A new history”, Yale University Press, second edition, 2007.

“1997 AIGA Medalist: Lucian Bernhard.” AIGA, The Professional Association for Design, The American Institute of Graphic Arts, 1998,

Blog post #1 Imaginary Interview With Henri De Toulouse Lautrec


An interview with Henri de Toulouse Lautrec about Life, art, and this poster for the Moulin Rougue 

Interviewer: Hello Henri, thank you so much for meeting with me today. I’m such a fan. 

Lautrec: *chuckling* Oh! Not at all! The pleasure is mine. 

Interviewer: Now, I understand you’ve been experiencing quite a bit of success within a certain niche with your graphic design, could you speak to what that is? And why it appeals to you? 

Lautrec: Of course! You see, I was trained academically in Paris, but now am entrenched in a more alternative bohemian lifestyle. Now my work tends to lean more towards the avant-guard. Making friends in the entertainment district was something that came with the territory. Quite literally, my work is very inspired by my life and friends in Monmartre!

Interviewer: That’s fascinating, your life and work are so connected! Now, was visual art something you always had an interest in? 

Lautrec: Yes, for a very long time. Things at home were not always Ideal when I was young, and I turned to art for solace during trying times of illness and familial tensions. Somehow through all of that I was able to make work that spoke to others. Connected to them. Much in the way I was able to find connections and solidarity amongst the denizens of Monmartre! 

Interviewer: Well, we’re all glad that you found a safe space in your art! It really is something to behold,. I’m especially interested in your poster designs! How did you come upon such a unique style of lithography and print-making?

Lautrec: I’m inspired by many things, one of which being Japanese prints, you know the ones they wrap pottery in? Such elegance and simplicity in the use of flat shapes and colours! This has influenced my treatment of these elements in my work greatly. 

Interviewer: Speaking of your poster work, one in particular has caught my attention recently, you’re poster for The Moulin Rouge night club featuring La Goulue, who I hear is a personal friend? Can you speak to the design choices in this piece? And the message you’re attempting to convey with it?

Lautrec: Certainly! La Goulue is indeed a friend of mine, and I admire her work greatly! With this poster I wanted to capture the energy of the Can-Can, a dance that she is known for. The placement of the elements is meant to put the viewer in the piece, hoping to intrigue people by making them a part of the spectacle! 

Interviewer: Well, I certainly did feel a part of the action when I first saw this arresting poster! This was one of your earlier poster works correct? 

Lautrec: Indeed it was, it has contributed to my notoriety greatly, sort of getting the ball rolling as it were. I was hired to create this poster by Charles Zidler when I was only 27, It was a leap of faith on his part if you ask me haha! But I think we’re all the better for that relationship being established so early on in my career! I am very grateful to my friends and experiences in Monmartre, and at the Moulin Rouge for continually inspiring me! You should seriously consider going to see La Goulue dance! She is a marvel! 

Interviewer: *Laughing* I’ll have to make that happen sometime! Speaking of La Goulue, many have commented on your sensitive and natural portrayal of women, what is it that gives you the ability to represent them with such candour? 

Lautrec: I owe that to having many wonderful and  talented female friends. I want to show them as they are, as human, not some idealized or over-sexualized object. I strive to portray them as vibrant and interesting, for isn’t that how we would all hope to be portrayed?

Interviewer: I suppose it is! Now, if we can get technical, can I ask about the lettering and style of typography you’ve chosen for this piece? What is your reasoning behind the repeated words? And the general handling of the text? 

Lautrec: The repeated text was meant to provide emphasis, as well as represent the flashing sign that adorns the iconic moulin rouge itself. The text is placed in such a way that it becomes integrated, yet still remains prominent in the piece, through this I hope to convey the beautiful chaos that is the Moulin Rogue! And La Goulue! She really is fantastic!

Interviewer: *chuckling* Well, she’s certainly lucky to have a friend like you, who portrays her with such sensitivity and energy! I’m afraid that’s all the time we have, But it was so lovely meeting you Monsieur Lautrec! I wish you many more years of success and adventure! 

Lautrec: It’s been a pleasure! Thank you! 


-Haynes, Clarence. “Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec.”, A&E Networks Television, 15 Nov. 2017,

-Heilburn. “Moulin Roughe: La Goulue.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History,

-Lautrec, Henri De Tolouse. The Moulin Rouge: La Goulue. The Moulin Rougue, Monmartre, Paris , 1891, The Met, New York city.

Imaginary Interview with Alphonse Mucha


Q: Hello, I am Veri Lee, and today we have Alphonse Mucha, one of the greatest artists who is considered as a marvel of the era, and created works as an embodiment of the Art Nouveau style. Can you briefly tell us about yourself, your background, and how you opened up your career as a graphic designer?

A: Hello, I am Alfons Maria Mucha, and also known as Alphonse Mucha. I am a Czech artist. I was born in 1860 in southern Moravia, a province of the Austrian Empire which is now Czech Republic. None of my parents were artists, my father worked at the local court and my mother was a governess. But I enjoyed art and drew a lot from an early age and they were really supportive. I have always wanted to be an artist, so I applied to the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague but was rejected. I was frustrated, but didn’t give up my artistic career. In 1880, I travel to Vienna which was a cultural hub at that time, and got a job as an apprentice theatrical painter. Whenever time allowed from work I surveyed museums, churches, and other theatres and got to know Hans Makart. He was almost a celebrity of Vienna and I was so inspired by his rich colour palette, the sensuous composition, and the decorative qualities. It helped me cultivate my own artistic sense and style. Then about at the age of 20, I moved to Mikulov and started to create art for theatres and studios. People liked my artworks, so fortunately I was sponsored by Count Eduard Khuen Belasi, and with his financial I could have an opportunity to get a formal training at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. However, I could not stay long because foreign students were strongly restricted under the Bavarin administration. I decided to move to Paris in 1887, which became one of my biggest transition.

Q. It is interesting to hear your pathway to Paris. And Paris is the place where you began to achieve fame.

A. In Paris, I went to Académie Julian and Académie Colarossi, and in the meantime I started to make illustrations for books, magazines, and also advertising posters. I could make myself a regular income, but still was an emerging artist.

Q. How did you meet Sarah Bernhardt, who later became your most important client? How did you get the job offer from her, to make poster of Gismonda?

A: Meeting with Bernhardt was a pure chance at that time, and I still feel very grateful for that. She was already the most famous actress and director in Paris. I can still picture that day so well. It was December 26, 1894, and I was correcting proofs at Lemercier’s publishing house. Everybody was on Christmas vacation so there was literally no regular Lemercier artists left. It was then Bernhardt called and requested a new design of poster for her prolonged play Gismonda. The manager of the publishing firm, Brunhoff, asked me to design it in a short space of time, and I gladly accepted it.

Q. That sounds very dramatic. Also your Gismonda was not bound by the style of conventional poster design at that time. Could you describe your innovative process of work, like your inspiration for design?

A. Speaking of convention, the poster by the time was already accepted as a form of art as well as commercials. There were some famous artists like Toulouse-Lautrec who contributed to the rapid development of the art of the poster. However, as this genre became more competitive, the female figures in the posters were being typecast as a temptress, with a typical bright colour palette.

I wanted to take different approach. I render Bernhardt as an idealized woman with delicate and distinctive lines and used subtle pastel colours with black outline. In this poster, she evokes the image of Byzantine patrician lady, looking at her gown, orchid headdress and palm branch in her hand. The design of the ornaments resemble the embossed carving of Renaissance period and arabesque motif. The decorative arch above her head gives the space for her name, and also serve as a halo. The size of poster is long vertically, which gives different impression from the commonly-used horizontal posters. It is bigger than life-size, which enhances the sense of her grace and dignity.

Q. This is all done in a week, that is so stunning! How did she reacted?

A. Thankfully, she was greatly delighted by this poster. She even offered me a six year contract, and we became mutual partners. I continued to design not only posters, but also did theatrical art, and costume and jewelry design for her.

Q. Parisian public also must be so impressed, too. I can definitely observe your visual language in how you portrayed women, and one of the recurring feature is their costumes. Could you tell us little bit about that?

A. My national and cultural background of Czech established my taste of art. My depiction of “intricate, but calculated, ornamentation is reminiscent of exuberant decorative art of the Czech Renaissance” (Bowlt, 78). The culture of the Czech Republic and traditional art style of Slavic tribes has always been the foundation of my design and philosophy. I was intrigued and influenced by the culture of West Slavs as their art pursued to capture the beauty of human, especially women, whereas in southern or eastern Slav, their art values geometric beauty.

Q. I see. Did you say you have your own basis of philosophy in your design? What is it?

A. I always use elaborate and enchanting curvilinear lines rather than simple, angular shapes, I depict beautiful nature in the setting and place a woman on the centre. What I want to represent here is the figure’s spirituality. The accessory and dress are the manifestation of her spirit. I want people to see the dignity of her personality, not the realistic features of her appearance. I believe poster’s artistic value to be “a central medium of self expression and a particular entity that operated in accordance with its own rule” (Bowlt, 78). That is to say, the function of advertising poster is not limited in selling products, but to fulfilling public’s sophisticated cultural needs.

Works Cited

Bowlt, John E. Leonardo, vol. 11, no. 1, 1978, pp. 78–78. JSTOR,

Myzelev, Alla. The Slavic and East European Journal, vol. 51, no. 4, 2007, pp. 822–823. JSTOR,

Snopko, Christina. “Alphonse Mucha.” Stained Glass 113, no. 2 (2018): 31.

Mucha, Alphonse. Poster for Gismonda.1894. Mucha Museum, Prague. Mucha Foundation, Accessed 06 February 2019