Exploring 20th Century Poster Design through Dadaist Techniques

For this poster project, I chose Dadaism as a style because it’s bold, insane, and uncommon in advertising. From the moment I first heard about it in Brooke Gladstone’s The Influencing Machine, I was fascinated. The nihilistic, laissez faire attitude of the movement personally appeals to me, and works as an interesting juxtaposition against advertising and posters in general, which are often stylistically sanitized and populist. When creating a poster, artists often have to ask, “How can I make this appealing?” Dadaism completely rejects the idea. Ironically, I hope that breaking these classical rules will create appeal, while still maintaining the Dada style. I chose to use collage techniques, which some Dadaists embraced after its discovery by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braques. Dadaists used fabrics, paper, and other every day materials in their collages, blurring the line between every day life and art. This is why I chose to incorporate my student bus passes, candy wrappers, and old projects in the poster. Students will shudder at the sight of a destroyed bus pass, which they (and I) heavily rely on in daily life, making this piece both personal and relatable. In the brief, we were asked, “What made YOU want to come to CapU?” so I feel that the personal touches are appropriate. For example, the background of the collage is one of my old oil painting palettes (which partially makes the poster “found art” as well – another Dadaist technique). I came to Capilano for the art! And so this is the theme of the poster. When I first came to the campus, I loved the massive paintings on the walls inside the Arbutus building. Painting on the walls is culturally taboo, but this freedom, lightness, and versatility is part of the IDEA program. And so Dadaism, another rule breaker, with all of its wildness, makes an appropriate style for an IDEA poster.

Some of the poster elements include: art from the Capilano Courier (the local school newspaper), a coffee cup protector (a large part of my daily life), pieces from my “illusion project” (a animated rabbit run-cycle), an old oil painting palette, a stencil from a photography project, scrap paper, an eyeball candy wrapper, gold coin candy wrappers (put in my “personal school mailbox” while I was sick, as a gift), my bus passes from October and November, gauche, and printed type.

Here’s the first page of sketches and designs. Most of them are offensive and inappropriate.

141 project 6 sketches

Here are some mood boards, thought maps, brain spasms, and idea blasts.

141 project 6 moods 2141 project 6 moods

The final analog product:

141 project 6 final absolute version

And two other versions!

141 project 6 final blue version

141 project 6 final BW version copy


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