The Polish School of Posters

A brief introduction to the incredible era of ground-breaking illustrative and typographic design (which not nearly enough people know about).

When we saw our first poster from the ‘Polish School of Posters’ it was love at first sight.

Produced by Poland’s greatest 20th century artists, they have a subversive wit and charm of their own which captures a unique period of history.

After the trauma of World War II, The Polish People’s Republic was trapped under strict Communist rule until 1989. During that time, posters were one of the only forms of individual artistic expression permitted by the State.

The State could not afford to bring up living standards, so it used the bright posters as a way to cheer up the depressed population. They commissioned artists to design posters not only for political and social messaging, but also to promote the government-run cultural media; film, theatre, opera, exhibitions, and the circus (cyrk). 

These unique circumstances meant that, over decades, successive generations of Poland’s greatest and most highly trained artists focussed their passion and talents on the medium of poster art.

Yet, far from suppressing the artists’ creativity, they flourished. Unconstrained by commercial bosses or market forces - and fully funded unlike their international contemporaries - they were able to push the boundaries of graphic and illustrative design.

Their work would have shone like beacons of hope in the bleak war torn streets. Behind the iron curtain was an explosion of creativity that would change the way the world viewed the humble poster, and graphic design, forever.

Today they remain just as impactful, and continue to influence and inspire contemporary art and design. We want as many people as possible to discover this incredible art movement.