The medium of the poster is distinguished by displaying messages combining images and text on a static, two-dimensional surface. Designers have, however, always toyed with extending the plane by adding a third dimension, whether spatial or temporal, in order to fool the eye. Stop Motion examines the myriad creative approaches to suggesting movement, recession into depth, dynamics, and rhythm. Perspectival narrowing and plastically rendered motifs are among the traditional stylistic means used in painterly and illustrative posters. Borrowings from Op Art or psychedelic art perplex the eye. In photographic posters, techniques such as blurring or time exposure are used to cause an image to vibrate. But sophisticated printing techniques can also broaden the possibilities of visual expression. In contemporary posters, it is the strictly graphic means of writing, abstract pictograms, or geometric forms that stretch out nested spaces, through which the gaze wanders restlessly.
Stop Motion reveals that poster designers have in fact traditionally sought to incorporate the aspect of movement. Moreover, the works assembled in the publication show that—with the exception of the current animated poster trend—the simulation of movement and three dimensions is always the result of a conscious design decision motivated by the respective content.
With an essay by Ellen Lupton, curator for Contemporary Design at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York