The History, Methods and Impact of the Poster 

Topics: Printing Press

From its advent to the present day, the poster has remained an accessible art form and vehicle for communication.

Although the modern-day poster is often accredited to nineteenth-century lithographer Jules Chéret, communication through visual means existed long before modernity. Some of the earliest examples of poster-like innovations can be accredited to Ancient Rome. Immovable, one-off wall paintings detailing public announcements can be traced back to first-century Pompeii. The invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century by Johannes Gutenberg would usher in mass reproduction and render such practices antiquated.

A rise in the production of ephemera and accessible type-based media such as religious pamphlets and notices would follow. Later advancements in printing techniques coupled with the lifting of censorship laws would ultimately lead to the conception of illustrative posters in nineteenth-century France. Pioneered by artists such as Chéret and Eugène Samuel Grasset, these illustration-based works continue to inform our contemporary understanding of the poster; a pictorial space in which images and text work together to convey a message.

As aforementioned, innovations in printing for mass consumption would play an integral role in the emergence of the modern poster. Gutenberg’s printing press facilitated increased literacy and the consumption of type-based materials. The advent of lithographic printing techniques in the early nineteenth century would be similarly groundbreaking. Invented by Aloys Senefelder, lithography would allow for inexpensive reproduction of both text and pictures.

These methodologies would be replaced in the twentieth century by screen printing (made popular by Andy Warhol) and newer processes such as Xerox, laser, and inkjet printing.

Get quality help now

Proficient in: Printing Press

5 (339)

“ KarrieWrites did such a phenomenal job on this assignment! He completed it prior to its deadline and was thorough and informative. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

In today’s largely digital landscape the form of the poster has become increasingly amorphous. While print is still a part of our collective visual vocabulary, many posters now exist solely on digital platforms and even utilize animated techniques.

Through all its iterations, the poster continues to be understood as a graphic and comprehensible means of communication. While posters can simply exist as reproductions or art pieces, many posters serve a specific function. This function can be informational, as is the case with posters designed to make specific announcements, or may be based on a specific ethos.

Political posters and advertisements often utilize emotive strategies (visual and written) as a means of attracting and perhaps persuading an audience. Whatever the intent of the designer, a poster must be engaging to be impactful.

Posters are largely a reflection of the contexts in which they have been created; they are visual distillations of cultural climates. While posters may vary in terms of method of production or graphic characteristics all posters serve as channels of communication between designer and viewer.

Cite this page

The History, Methods and Impact of the Poster . (2022, Aug 08). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7