History of Polish Graphic Design

By Marryellen Mcfadden

1930

Preaesens cover designed by Henryk Stazewski (?) 1930. This publication used the New Typography in a constructivist approach to all of its covers.

Source: flickr


1956

Poster for the Soviet film Necessary Operation designed by Roman Cieslewicz 1956.

Source: flickr


1957

Polish poster for the American film Apache, designed by Wojciech Fangor 1957. Hmmm, could this be a dust cover for Sherman Alexie’s book Ten Little Indians?

Source: flickr


1960

Polish film poster designed by Jolanta Karczewska for the American film North to Alaska 1960.

Source: flickr


1961


Polish poster for the American film One-Eyed Jacks designed by Stanislaw Zamecznik 1961.

Source: flickr


1962

Jan Lenica Warsaw theatre poster illustration 1962.

Source: flickr

Book jacket designed by Roman Cieslewicz 1962 for ‘Adolf Eichmann’s Road to Beit Haam’ by Kazifierz Kakol 1962.

Source: flickr


1963

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Those who don’t like the Polish designs probably won’t be fond of my number one choice. Again, form and function intertwine as the polish word for bird “ptaki” is used in a repeated form to emulate a dark and ominous cloud of birds. Unlike most Polish posters, this actually is effective advertising, while also being a piece of design majestry. Adding the image of the birded skull adds that extra level of spook and really is a cherry that makes the design complete. The designer is Bronislaw Zelek, who is far from one of the most famous of the Polish movement, but there is no doubt that The Birds is one of the greatest designs of the twentieth century.

Source: Beyond the Valley of the Cinephiles


1964

The use of Art Nouveau letterforms, a touch of Edward Munch, and shock illustration was very much an individual statement by the illustrator, reflecting his own response to the subject matter.

Warsaw theatre poster designed by Jan Lenica 1964. He later went on to France, then Germany where he was also involved with film, especially animation.

Source: flickr


1965


Polish poster for the American film Saddle in the Wind, designed by Maria Syska-Dabroska 1965.

Source: flickr


1966

Warsaw theatre poster, designed 1966 by Jan Lenica, Polish graphic designer. Around 1955 until the 1970’s a new graphic direction came from, of all places, Communist Poland, as if a voice of defience to all other styles, be it Heroic Realism, New Graphic Design, or whatever direction graphic design was going world wide. Polish designers were doing their own thing in their own way.

But style it was. And as a style, eventually once the novelty died out, so did this direction. It did not go much beyond those years but in its own way, added to the graphic scene of the times. It was the very antithesis of all New Graphic Design principles.

Source: fickr

Anonymous.

Source: flickr


1967


Designed by Holdanowicz 1967.

Source: flickr


Poster designed by Cieslewicz 1967.

Source: flickr

Designed by Swierzy 1967.

The text on this poster is Danish. It says:
“People meet and sweet music originate in the heart”.

After (based on a story by) Jens August Schade.
A movie by Henning Carlsen.
Starring Harriet Andersson.

Source: flickr

Polish poster for the American film Red River, designed by Maciej Zbikowski 1967.

I see the Cuban design influence in this graphic.

Source: flickr


1969

Warsaw theatre poster designed by Jan Lenica 1969. He later went on to France, then Germany and was also involved with film, especially animation. There were other Polish designers working in the same direction but Jan Lenica’s work was outstanding in it’s own unique way.

Source: flickr

Poster designed by Swerzy 1969.

Source: flickr

Poster designed by Mroszczak 1969.

Source: flickr

Polish film poster designed by Waldemar Swierzy for the American film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969. The san-serif letterforms are really unique for a Western film advertisement.

Source: flickr


1970


Jan Lenica poster for the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, designed 1970.

Source: flickr

Polish poster for the American film Duel in the Sun, designed by Jakub Erol 1970.

Posterization, use of color and mass of letterforms that seems to bear down on the man’s figure, was much different than the American poster art for this film.

Source: flickr


“Never again, Oswiecim”, the Polish word for “Auschwitz”.

Source: flickr


1971

“Nic o niej nie wiedzac “, Mieczyslaw Wasilewski, 1971.

Source: The Art of Poster


1973

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Roman Cieslewicz design for the magazine Poland, November 1973. Double page spread of the cover and back.

Source: flickr

Polish poster for American film Patt Garrett and Billy the Kid, designed by Mieczcyslaw Wasilewski 1973. The use of a san-serif typeface is really unusual for a Western period film. I may be wrong, but it looks like Futura.

Source: flickr


1974

Polish film poster designed by Jacek Neugebauer for the American film Jeremiah Johnson 1974.

Source: flickr


1975


Polish Western film poster designed by Zbigniew Czarnecki for the East German film Ulzana 1975.
A combination of high contrast photography and illustration.

Source: flickr


“Najwieksze wydarzenie od czasu kiedy czlowiek stanal na ksiezycu”, Mieczyslaw Wasilewski, 1975

Source: The Art of Poster


“Legenda o Paulu i Pauli”, Mieczyslaw Wasilewski, 1975.

Source: The Art of Poster


“Dziewczyna z laska”, Mieczyslaw Wasilewski, 1975.

Source: The Art of Poster


“To be /war/or not to be?”, Mieczyslaw Wasilewski, 1975.

Source: The Art of Poster


1976

Theater poster for the play by Antonio Buero Vallelo ‘When Brains Sleep’, designed by Roman Cieslewicz 1976.

Source: flickr

Trademark by Wojciech Zamecznik, Polish designer 1976 or before.
Thanks to tylerpole I found this to be the logo of the International Poster Biennial and yes, designed by Wojciech Zamecznik.

Source: flickr


1978

Polish film poster designed by Elzbieta Procka-Socha for the American Western film The Return of a Man Called Horse 1978.

This is an example of the problem of not getting the details correct, even in an almost surreal context . The mask is from coastal Alaska or British Columbia, not at all from the Lakhota Sioux of the Great Plains. (The two areas were totally different cultures. The northwest Pacific coastal indians had no use for the horse. They traveled in ocean-going canoes.) An expensive full-color press run poster for one American dumbsilly movie.

Source: flickr


1979

Polish film poster for The Girls From Wilko, designed by Roman Cieslewicz 1979.

Source: flickr


Polish exhibition poster The Graphic Work of Telingater, designed Roman Cieslewicz 1979.

Source: flickr

Polish film poster designed by Mieczyslaw Wasilewski for the Romanian Western film The Prophet, The Gold, and the Transylvanians 1979.

Source: flickr


1980


“Cenny depozyt”, Mieczyslaw Wasilewski, 1980.

Source: The Art of Poster


1987

“Temat”, Mieczyslaw Wasilewski, 1987

Source: The Art of Poster


1989

This truly perplexes me. The Polish election poster designed by Tomasz Sarnecki 1989, based on the 1952 American film High Noon. I understand that this was a very popular poster.

Source: flickr


Note from the collector:

Polish graphic design went through a unique period during the Socialist years. The graphic design profession was sponsored by the state and, regardless of the usual western “Evil Empire” label, some of the very best Polish work came out of that period, especially with the movie posters.

To me, Polish graphic design never seemed to produce the same caliber of work after 1989. But there may be visuals that I haven’t seen. – Marryellen


To be continued.

Quoted

Sekolah membuat desainer menjadi pintar, bekerja membuat desainer menjadi paham, pengalaman panjang membuat desainer menjadi arif

Danton Sihombing