TPT 2000 text: David Grossman

It is a most interesting time to examine poster design. As the profession of graphic design is transformed by technological development, much attention is focused on the digital and interactive media. The general public, as well as designers (and especially students of design) see the moving images of the Internet and MTV as being in the forefront of current design challenges. And it is true that these media are indeed the engines of current design activity.

Indeed, over the past decade, we have heard many proclaim the demise of the book, the newspaper, the poster and indeed, “the end of print“ itself. But as we have seen, far from the end of printed materials, the expanding international marketplace, with the new digital technologies and Internet as catalyst, has resulted in a huge increase in printed materials – books, magazines, packaging, etc.

The amount and importance of visual communications design continues to grow, and with this increase must come higher standards of professional graphic design. The poster has traditionally been that area in which graphic designers expressed their most accomplished professional abilities. The poster required the most concise, powerful and original manifestations of text and image to convey precise messages. The poster represented one of the most difficult challenges to all designers.

I would suggest that the poster today must be looked at within a new perspective. As it competes with numerous other media for attention, it remains especially appropriate as a measure of graphic abilities. The poster remains a severe tast for any designer. Other media may be far more forgiving. The additional dimensions of time, motion and sound, the lower resolution of flickering computer screens, the fleeting nature of images and words seen for fractions of seconds, permit much current design to be created with less attention to detail. Not so with the poster. A poster is reviewed with the same intensity and attention to detail as ever.

The poster remains one of the best formats for the expression of design excellence. And furthmore, in an age when most projects must be undertaken by collaborative teams, the poster remains and expression of individual excellence, and often, of individual visual language. These qualities ensure the poster a continuing special position in the profession of graphic design, and professionals and students alike should see the poster as a form of exercise – a way of testing and maintaining their proffesional edge.

International poster competitions and exhibitions are important opportunities for the graphic design profession to review developments and set new standards of quality and innovation. It is with pleasure that I congratulate the organizers and participants of the fourth Trnava Poster Triennal that has set a high standard for the international community. I am sure that we will be treated with new and exciting designs which will be an inspiration for all.

David Grossman
president of ICOGRADA