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What people say about the book

"I love this book and I'm totally satisfied with it!"


"How Posters Work is surprisingly inexpensive. Therefore, I can't think of any reason that a poster aficionado (professional or amateur) wouldn't want to add this book to your collection."

About the book

How do we look at graphic design, and how does graphic design look back at us? Over the last century, posters have served both as utilitarian communication and as a means for design discourse. Today, as posters circulate through print and social media, they continue to spawn new visual languages. How Posters Work explores fourteen diverse principles of visual thinking—from focusing the eye and assaulting the surface to the art of telling stories.


Graphic design rallies the senses and stirs the mind, unleashing new ideas within each viewer and within a broader culture or subculture. Presenting an extraordinary selection of images from the collection of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, How Posters Work will open the eyes of any reader—from creative professionals to fans and collectors—to the fundamental power of twodimensional design.


How Posters Work is a book about how designers see. Featuring more than 330 illustrations, this primer in visual thinking shows the ways designers use principles of composition, perception, and storytelling to convey ideas and construct meaning. Presenting works by famous pioneers including Herbert Matter, Paul Rand, Paula Scher, Philippe Apeloig, and M/M (Paris), as well as rarely seen pieces by new and little-known artists from the Cooper Hewitt collection, this book explores how posters —powerful acts of visual communication— are produced and experienced.


Ellen Lupton is the author of numerous books on design, including Thinking with Type (2010), Graphic Design Thinking (2011), Type on Screen (2014), Beautiful Users: Designing for People (2014), and Graphic Design: The New Basics (2015). She is Senior Curator of Contemporary Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City, and director of the Graphic Design MFA program at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) in Baltimore. She holds a BFA from The Cooper Union (1985) and a Doctorate in Communication Design from University of Baltimore (2008). She received the AIGA Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in 2007.