The Creativity of the Unexpected + Fake News Flowers: Poster 2023 Entries

Whether it be a branding campaign or a call to action, these poster designs show us that regardless of format, location, or subject, posters as a medium are as influential as ever. 

Sean Freeman and Eve Steben of There is Studio were approached by DDB Paris with a carte blanche brief to illustrate their new brand positioning with the slogan “Unexpected Works” (above, left) which affirms that creativity is the most powerful when it comes out of nowhere. The idea was to create a colorful, lively, and bold typographic design that would catch the eye and resonate with viewers as something artistic rather than commercial, with an intriguing and exciting feel. Firm believers in “embracing artistic exploration and experiments, happy accidents, and making unexpected works,” Freeman and Steben quickly resonated with the project and weaved this ethos throughout their poster design. The final product features playful lettering and fluid dynamics, mixing various real-life and digital elements. The campaign resulted in a collection of billboards and “Affichage Sauvage” posters, also known as wild-posting, in unexpected places, and was accompanied by immense press coverage for their new branding launch.

Byoung il Sun is a graphic designer based in Seoul, South Korea, where he works as a professor in the Visual Information Design department at Nameseoul University. His latest poster entry, “Evil Flower” (above, right) was designed for the Press Arbitration Commission in South Korea to underline the gravity of fake news and its effects on the public sphere. This warning takes the form of cacti made of folded newspaper, covered in sharp thorns, with the headline “Fake News” visible on parts of the newspaper. The poster is a compelling visual representation of the harm disinformation and unfounded accusatory speech has on readers, and encompasses Sun’s desire that the rapid spread of fake news can be counteracted against.  

For his posters and program notes designs for “Festival Duni 2021” (above, left), Italian designer Carlo Fiore incorporated historical art pieces to highlight the festival’s focus on the different cultural relationships connecting Mediterranean countries between the 13th and 17th centuries. Fiore presents the concerts as musical offerings using an array of decorative plates painted with elaborate patterns, rich colors, and calligraphy indicative of different periods in Mediterranean culture. Fiore’s posters proved to be a success with the festival’s large turnout despite the pandemic restrictions in place. 

The Balvenie Flavours” (above, right) was created by Owen Gildersleeve for the Scottish liquor company Balvenie 21. Considered  “the most hand-crafted of single malts,” the company commissioned Gildersleeve to bring the company’s signiture drink to life through a series of handcrafted layered paper sets, conveying the flavor profiles of each whisky. To achieve the look, Gildersleeve drew up the set designs in Adobe Illustrator before each layer was cut out of sheets of colored paper, using different stock elements to add the variety of paper textures that are present in the design. The final layers and elements were mounted onto large sheets of foam board so they could be stood upright with bottles that sat on a concealed handmade plinth. Photographed by Mitch Payne, the poster came together as a beautiful representation of the whisky’s warm layers of vanilla honey and sweet fruit, and received wide acclaim once the campaign rolled out last year.  

You can find our full list of Poster Annual 2023 entries at!

Author: Graphis