Synopses & Reviews
This lavishly illustrated volume amasses nearly 500 of the best and most striking posters designed by artists working in the 1930s and early 1940s for the government-sponsored Works Progress Administration, or WPA. Posters for the People
presents these works for what they truly are: highly accomplished and powerful examples of American art. All are iconic and eye-catching, some are humorous and educational, and many combine modern art trends with commercial techniques of advertising. More than 100 posters have never been published or catalogued in federal records; they are included here to ensure their place in the history of American art and graphic design.
The story of these posters is a fascinating journey, capturing the complex objectives of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal reform program. Through their distinct imagery and clear and simple messages, the WPA posters provide a snapshot of an important era when the U.S. government employed hundreds of artists to create millions of posters promoting positive social ideals and programs and a uniquely American way of life. The resulting artworks now form a significant historical record. More than a mere conveyor of government information, they stand as timeless images of beauty and artistic accomplishment.
Arriving just in time for the 75th anniversary of the New Deal, Posters for the People features nearly 500 of the best posters produced by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the 1930s and 1940s. As you'll recall from high school history class, the WPA employed hundreds of out-of-work artists to raise awareness about public issues and civic life. Today their posters are celebrated as iconic works of graphic design; they also provide timeless messages about the merits of hard work, good parenting, a clean house, and personal hygiene. Posters for the People was produced by the WPA Living Archive, a project started in 2002 to preserve the legacy of these images. Some of the posters have been cataloged by the Library of Congress, but more than 25 percent are new and have never been published in book form. Complete with hundreds of beautifully reproduced images, Posters for the People is essential reading for artists, designers, collectors of Americana, and anyone interested in United States history.
About the Author
Ennis Carter is the founder and director of Design for Social Impact in Philadelphia. Established in 1996, Design for Social Impact is among the first and foremost graphic design workshops devoted exclusively to promoting public-interest issues. Carter is also the driving force behind the WPA Living Archive, an online public project begun in 2002 to preserve the legacy of posters the U.S. government produced between 1935 and 1943 to promote New Deal programs and civic issues. Christopher DeNoon is the author of Posters of the WPA (Wheatley Press, 1987). DeNoon is the leading expert on the history of the Federal Art Project’s WPA Poster Division and its graphic output. He is co-owner of Fibula Studios, a design and production studio of handcrafted jewelry, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.