A fish swallowed up by water bottles. Two silhouettes stuck together, melding into one. These images may sound unsettling and weird, but in the hands of of award-winning poster designers, they become somehow beautiful.
First up is a poster by João Machado, an award-winning designer and proud Graphis Master. Known for his use of unique color palletes, textures, and shapes, the Portuguese designer often uses his work to advocate for wildlife conservation and biodiversity. “Save Me” (above, left) is his latest enviromental work, and portrays a fish swimming in water whose form has been completely overtaken by plastic water bottles. The illustration is a stirring visual depiction of how plastic pollution affects life in our oceans, rivers, and lakes; not only does it destroy their habitats, but it also increases the threat of suffocation, starvation, and drowning for aquatic animals. The black mist surrounding the bottom half of the fish adds a sense of unease and makes the “Save Me” at the top right corner even more poignent; if we don’t want animals to end up like this, it’s in our hands to fix these issues that continue to endanger wildlife and, in turn, ourselves.
“King Oedipus” (above, right) was created by designer and fellow Graphis Master Stephan Bundi for the play “Koenig Oedipus”, which was directed by Rolf Gilomen and premiered at the Theater Orchester Biel Solothurn in Switzerland. The grotesque style performance was based on the Greek tragedy “King Oedipus” by Sophocles, which tells the tale of Laius and Oedipus, a king and his son who both attempt to outwit an oracle’s prophecy after it warns that Oedipus would kill Laius and marry his mother Jocasta in the future. Bundi illustrates Laius’ and Oedipus’ intertwined fates through two human profiles melded together, though the placement of the heads and the angle of the shadows make it appear as if it’s one person caught in motion blur when turning around. Despite facing away from each other, the two figures remain stuck to one another, alluding to the play’s ending where Oedipus unknowingly fulfills the prophecy and eventually recognizes himself as his father’s killer, conceding that despite their efforts, their connection and fate is inevitable.
When the Worldwide Graphic Designers organization prompted its participants to dedicate a poster to a design legend from their country, mixed media artist and silver winner Keith Kitz knew exactly who he wanted to pay homage to. Revered for her groundbreaking contributions to the graphic design field, April Greiman was one of the first designers to embrace computer technology as a design tool. She also introduced the European New Wave design style (whose characteristics include inconsistent letterspacing, varying typeweights within single words, and type set at non-right angles) to the US during the late 70s and early 80s. Kitz’s piece, “Think Play Innovate (Thank You April)” (above, left) takes inspiration from some of Greiman’s by creating a collage of clips and images in funky 80s colors. Emulating Greiman’s Wet and Pacific Wave posters, with their loud primary colors, geometic shapes, and rich layering, Kitz honors the story of her career and influence in the design industry.
Lastly is “Sirius” (above, right), a series of posters called byKirsten Gracieof the Australian design firm Hoyne. Created for the real-estate company JDH Capital, the posters showcase the company’s new property on the Sydney harbor through stunning photography that captures the modern redesign of the building and the waterfront views around the residence, including the iconic Sydney Opera House. With phrases such as “Reborn” and “Iconic” framing the photos, each poster utilizes futuristic sans-serif typeface, hierarchy, and unique layouts to present the property, emphasizing Sirius’ quintessential location at the center of contemporary art and culture and to “live like no other”.
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