Matt Flynn for Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Despite the computer screen becoming firmly ensconced as the dominant medium for most forms of visual expression, posters are still a vital form of art, advertising, and information awareness. And from these large pieces of paper, some of the most innovative and compelling design tactics have evolved. Wired has the scoop behind some of the more iconic posters in history. Drawing from “How Posters Work,” a new exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, the article lays out the techniques of great poster design. And unlike some of the more done-to-death styles used in movie posters, for example, each of these nine design tricks still comes across as a smart and appealing elaboration on an old idea. Take Saul Bass’ imbrication of medium and message:

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Or Keith Haring’s “overwhelm the eye” style, with its relaxing of modernist ideas signifying an attendant relaxing of music, sex, and youth culture.

The whole piece contains some great posters, along with illuminating commentary on just what makes these designs so effective. Best of all, there’s no Comic Sans to be seen.

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