Umbrellas up! It’s raining letters… Hallelujah?
That’s what I imagine those at Weltformat poster festival in Lucerne, Switzerland, are singing this week upon entering an exhibition called “Moving Poster 2,” a collection of dynamic, animated placards that continues a theme explored at the same festival last year. Celebrating the experiments in animated poster design taking place across the globe, the show explores what curator and graphic designer Josh Schaub says is a new movement spurred by the advent of screens everywhere—from big, high res ones in train stations to the tiny personal screens tucked into pockets.
Poster design, it seems, is on the move. Schaub wants us to stop and ask: But where is it going?
Last year the show dealt intensely with defining exactly what constitutes a moving poster after the term was coined by Swiss designer Felix Pfaelli a few years ago. (You can read our interview with the team behind the show’s first iteration here.) Unlike digital advertising or animated GIFs, “Moving Poster 1” demonstrated that the activated “moving poster” has a very specific set of criteria. To be a one, a design must retain the formal elements of a poster, communicate using traditional rhetoric, scale to fit the portrait format, and employ animation as if it were a “fifth color” or a special print technique.
This year, though—now that we know that posters that zoom, zip, and swirl are here to stay—the focus of the exhibition is more technical, in hopes of pushing the conversation and techniques forward.
What kind of movement is most effective in a moving poster? How can an animation help strengthen a message instead of distract from it? When does a moving poster become more than just one more way for an image to shout “look at me!” on the speeding virtual highway of our streams? These questions—and more—have occupied Schaub during the curatorial process.
Today Schaub guides us through five posters from the “Moving Poster 2” exhibition, and unpacks the new set of problems unearthed for those experimenting with animated movement in their static placard designs.