Polski Projekt: Polish Posters and Typefaces
- Wednesday, Dec 7th, 2022 to Tuesday, Feb 28th, 2023
Celebrating Poland’s rich heritage of graphic communication, Polski Projekt, an exhibition presented by the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT) at ArtCenter College of Design, brings together work from two practices: poster and type design. The exhibition represents the history of both fields emerging from a society with strong sociopolitical disruptions, a cultural dependence on national traditions and a slow pace of economic and commercial growth.
Widely admired for their brash wit and strength of gesture, the Polish poster reveals highly individualistic and often painterly approaches to poster design based on ambiguity and metaphor. Unable to access basic materials and design technologies, graphic designers living in the People’s Republic of Poland (1947–1989) worked in continuous negotiation with the state—the only client available to them. The posters in the exhibition were designed by renowned artists associated with the Polish Poster School including Henryk Tomaszewski, Franciszek Starowieyski, Jan Lenica, Roman Cieślewicz and Waldemar Świerzy, among others.
Contrary to the hand-drawn, self-expressive lettering used in the posters, the type specimens in Polski Projekt showcase typefaces created for the automated setting of texts (typesetting). Dating as far back as the 15th century, this retrospective of Polish type design, reproduced using metal foundry type, matrices, transfer media and, more recently, digital font technology, illustrates the limitless sources of inspiration and the growing social role of typography in Poland.