Winter 1998

Writing on the wall

Steven Heller
The posters of James Victore

This committed New Yorker tackles personal, self-financed projects that hammer home graphic design’s potential to make a difference

A New York street poster has to grab viewers by the throat and knock them on their asses. Otherwise it’s as useless as yesterday’s newspaper and as forgettable as most theatre, movie, fashion, and cabaret posters posted daily. In the competition for city scaffolds, longevity is measured by days, sometimes hours. A memorable poster must not only stand out above the crowd, it must leave the viewer with a mental ‘cookie’ that prompts Pavlovian recognition – a tough order, given the multitude of stylish bills posted these days. Yet one of the most startling posters in recent memory did leave a potent after-burn. This violently rendered scrawl of the word Racism not only stands out among trendy designs, but also is a strident commentary on a troublesome theme…

First published in Eye no. 30 vol 8, 1998

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues.


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