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👀 You need a good poster if you want a hit show
#235 | CalArts Calling
In the summer of 2001 - I was 5 - my strict Catholic school in the heart of South Kolkata asked us to participate in a blood donation awareness drive.
The night before the rally, my grandmother made my poster as the school instructed. On black chart paper, she drew a drop of blood with vibrant red paint and accompanied it with a poetic and inspiring slogan I no longer remember.
Immensely happy with the poster (even at 5, I had strong opinions about aEsThEtIcS), I took it to class the next day, where it was promptly taken away and stacked with the other posters.
When it was time for the rally, the teachers distributed the posters randomly among the students, which meant that I had to carry someone else's drab poster, instead of the alluring red and black poster my grandmother made just for me.
This was my first tryst with posters, and I was clearly upset enough to remember this incident in vivid detail years later.
There's another incident from 7th grade, where I made a poster about Elizabethan England with a bunch of classmates. We came up with the idea of burning the edges and pouring coffee all over the white paper to make it seem like a historical find. We were utterly pleased with ourselves until another group did the same thing.
I continue to have strong opinions about poster art even today.
Cut to the digital age, I discovered Canva and happily make posters whenever someone in my circle organises an event.
I'm no artist or designer, so Canva is my go-to for poster design, and I think it's revolutionary software. BUT a part of me is sad that the advent of template-based design has resulted in a homogeneity of poster art - Canva offers a lot of variety, but still.
I like to call it the Canvasation of poster making, after what I call the Marvelisation of pop culture. Even period films now have characters quipping. And why does EVERYTHING have to have VFX?
Anyway, today's thing is the CalArts Poster Archive, where you can browse posters made by graphic design students all the way from 1970 to now. It's a wonderful way to learn not only about how poster design has evolved but the kinds of events and gatherings that have taken place in the university over the ages.
No Canva in this archive.