The Future of the Poster

So to conclude, I wanted to research the question ‘Is their any future in the poster?’ due to modern technology we are moving further and further away from a piece of paper stuck on a wall reaching the target audience we require and having the impact we desire. Is the digital age working to eradicate the use of the poster?

The V & A had an exhibition called  the ‘Future of the Poster’

It was designed to show how the poster has been present in the past, present and future. The idea of the poster is that ‘the viewer interacts with the piece and understands the nature of the poster: it’s something that gives you information (the sheet of paper that stays in your hands) and something that has an expiry date (poster being thrown on the floor).’

Maybe this is the fault of the poster that after the information is received the poster expires…it no longer has a use. However this could be seen as something that all design has an issue of, once the information has been taken in we tend to become immune to the design, we don’t want to look at it any more. Is the future of poster design a design that keeps on challenges us…something that we always see something different on?

I understand that the power in a poster is sometimes with repetition, we don’t get the complete message until we have seen a poster several times but that’s not what I’m talking about, I mean the point at which we no longer even think about the poster…this seems to have happened with a lot of charity designs, we’ve seen so many images of a child suffering from famine that no we manage to look past that striking photo. How can we keep the viewer involved?

One idea is to introduce interactive posters, like I said maybe the poster can change every minute, maybe the same poster is never shown more than once.

Another article I found, talks about the future of the printed poster:

Michael Johnson states that he feels the future of poster design is in the interactive, ‘What will start to happen soon is that designers and agency creatives will start to realise that having a ‘moving’ idea is just as important as the static idea.’

Johnson mentions a campaign for Obama by which poster designs were uploaded onto the internet and people could get them printed themselves, this counteracts the issue he spoke about earlier with poster design, that’s it’s increasing expense compared with cheaper methods such as web advertising.

These can be viewed at

Johnson concludes by saying that there will always be a place for the poster ‘all of the huge identity schemes we do now are almost always applied out onto posters in the early iterations – it remains one of the quickest ways to see if a headline, a picture and a logo can co-exist in an intriguing and memorable way.’

Perhaps the future of the poster is for it to go digital…perhaps there will always be throw away printed posters however digital poster design takes over completely. Perhaps poster design will adapt to posters that are specifically aimed at you. By this I mean they work in a similar way that we see on Google or Facebook. For example what if a billboard at the side of a road could read the history on the internet on your phone, or possibly the apps that you’ve downloaded, what if the design on the billboard could change to become an advert that is appropriate for you. The same thing could work for adshels or posters.

In conclusion, I think that the art of the poster will never die out, I agree with the opinion stated in the early article I looked at, it says, ‘as long as there are walls, there will be people producing posters to stick on them, and that there will always be a need for such a ‘throwaway’ yet eye-catching marketing and propaganda tool.’ There will always be a place for the poster even if it is just a temporary sign outside a gig or in a pub advertising the price of drinks on that night, in these places it would be too expensive to install a screen and so would be more cost effective to just print out a poster. Obviously for adshels and street signs it’s a completely different story, in these places it is likely that a screen is already installed and so you would have to pay to use the screen, this would be much cheaper than printing these on a mass scale.  I think that in the years to come posters will go digital, we have seen this theme gradually emerge, however I’m not sure how far in the future it will be until a sign could pick up your phone history, this would be extremely costly so until more cost effective technology comes along I don’t thing we’ll be seeing this sort of thing for a while.


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