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Take a look at some of the greatest posters designed for the Hayward Gallery from its recent book, On Display.

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On Display, 2014

The Hayward Gallery has published On Display: 50 Posters Designed for the Hayward Gallery, a collection of posters selected from the Hayward Gallery’s archive by the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Curator of Posters and Prints, Catherine Flood. This large format publication comes with perforated pages, allowing you to adorn your home with the meaningfully sized and colour-corrected posters – if you can bring yourself to tear the pages out of a book, that is.

Mainly focusing on the 1970s and 1980s, On Display contains posters by such luminaries of British design as Richard Hollis, Ken Garland, Theo Crosby and Neville Brody. A distinctively Total Design poster by Wim Crouwel and Arlette Brouwers for the exhibition Ellsworth Kelly: Painting and Sculpture is a pleasant surprise and contrast that shows the endearingly modest Britishness of many of the other posters. 

The engaging introductory essay from Catherine Flood emphasises the critical side to On Display: it throws into relief the state of current exhibition posters at the bigger culture institutions. Using unequivocal language, Flood comments on the ‘reductive formulas’ employed in contemporary poster designs, stating that the focus of the posters “becomes the profile of the institution, with the art serving to reinforce the brand”.

Looking at the era just before the rise of the marketing department, when a poster for a gallery show was about ‘communicating the character’ of the art on show, On Display communicates the vitality that well-commissioned design can bring to an institution’s visual expression. As both a nice object and an important, apposite comment on contemporary poster design, this is a book well worth keeping on your bookshelf – or you walls.

Purchase a copy here

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Show: Kinetics, 1970 Poster design: Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes

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Show: Gilbert & George: Pictures 1982‐86, 1987 Artwork: Gilbert & George, We, 1983 © the artists, courtesy White Cube

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Show: NEW WORK 1: John McLean; Carl Plackman; David Hepher; John Walker; Anthony Hill; Robert Mason, 1975

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Show: NEW WORK 2: John Ashworth; Nicholas Monro; Peter Startup; Victor Newsome; Gerald Newman; Bryan Kneale; Malcolm Hughes; Trevor Halliday, 1975‐76

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Show: Hayward Annual 1982: British Drawing, 1982 Poster design: Richard Hollis

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Show: How to Play the Environment Game: An Arts Council Exhibition which explains the Theory, Stakes, Ploys and Gambits which are Manipulating and corroding our Environment, 1973 Poster design: Pentagram