I love posters. They’re this unique canvas that merges art with design, and that has somehow been given permission to be a little more ‘out there’ and experimental than other surfaces.
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that while you don’t see posters much anymore in the US (though you’ll see plenty of billboards), they are still abundant in Switzerland, and they continue to be incredibly experimental, unique and artistic. Here’s a little collection of some of my favorite Swiss posters over the years, in no particular order:
Always a sucker for stripes. But I also love how the flat stripes were merged with the photographic dripping paint, and a sense of dimensionality was created.
The first time I’ve ever seen a painting allowed to be overlaid with color, and it really works. It nicely ties in the old (a traditional painting) with the new (a vibrant gradient reminiscent of modern ads and campaigns).
This one just seems particularly sleek and simple.
You’ll also find posters who’s dimensions have been altered so that a viewer viewing them from beneath will see them as a regular rectangle, thanks to perspective. Also, great use of Keith Haring’s work on this poster!
Of these three I was particularly drawn to the one in the center, with the bold color, overlap of information, and modern, expressive lettering.
The identity for the Musée National Suisse at the Chateau de Prangins (Swiss National Museum at the Castle of Prangins) revolves around a custom slab serif typeface made of patterns. Due to the country’s many official languages, the logo of the castle is spelled out multiple times in French, English and Swiss German (and possibly Romansch?)
I’m a huge fan of the simplicity of not only this poster, but the entire brand for this local arts festival. How bold to include nothing more than one word, and a blurry image! The lack of information presented is intriguing and open to interpretation, just like the art in the festival itself!
Another poster for this festival, though this one defies traditional posters’ sizes and dimensions.
And another example of the festival’s identity (on the far right). Another local brand system I really like is that of the Musée Romain de Nyon (see a close-up below), which is straightforward and almost too obviously simple, yet it works: Based on what I’ve seen, for every new exhibit they just swap out the photo in the NYON text and stick to a similar layout. It’s recognizable, elegant, and somehow still different enough from one exhibit to the other to notice when a new poster is up.
The scribbles on this poster, paired with the bright colors make this poster really expressive and eye-catching.
Love the outlines, love the minmal use of color, and love the way the type is experimentally placed along the lines of the horse’s head and body.
More bright colors!
This one isn’t so much a gem of design, but a gem of an idea. Translation: “To each their rabbit”.
In my opinion, the Musées d’Art et d’Histoire de Genève (Museums of Art and History of Geneva) have the best and longest standing track record of solid poster designs in Geneva. I wish I had more pictures of previous posters to show, but over the years they’ve managed to create a simple and sophisticated aesthetic, all the while making dynamic use of their brand (which centers around the ‘M’ in a box).
This year’s brand system for the Nyon arts festival. The chopped up text threw me back to a sophomore year design project where I chopped up Eames Century Modern to turn it into a display typeface.
And here are more of those same posters, but with a creative twist on what a poster can be.
I’ve already raved about the brand identity for the Chateau de Nyon (Castle of Nyon) here, but here it is again. It’s not really a poster, but… It’s still pretty!
More posters making more use of bright colors.
The stark contrast of this poster is eye catching, and the way in which the text was morphed as if on a sheet or flag is a unique take on a festival identity (note: this is the same festival as the one with the horse a few pictures up, but just a new year’s identity). I also love the way the sheet blowing in the wind casually reveals the key information for the festival beneath it.
The way a pattern with strong contrast was merged with pale flat colors works really nicely here. Side-note: I used to go to this circus a lot as a kid.
A creepy and expressive poster which perfectly exemplifies the idea that posters can be a mix of art and design.
Turning the human body into a canvas/surface of expression in this poster is an extremely smart way to link to the fact that in this theater (Theatre Les Halles, Sierre), performers use their bodies as forms of expression too.
This one you may need to look at from a little bit of a distance to really ‘see’. (It doesn’t help that the reflections in the window are so clear.)
Do you see it?
Ok, if you still don’t see it: The yellow circles change in size in their grid to form the words ‘see you’, as part of a campaign to get more cyclists and pedestrians to wear reflective clothing at night, so as to be more visible to motorists. So smart!
A simple design, but I like how the highlighted background behind the text changes color from word to word.
The Bibliothèque de Nyon (Library of Nyon) has a strong brand system that I always enjoy seeing around. The semi-colon in the B is placed large, front and center in all of its poster, over a duo-tone image. Again, so simple, and it works so well!