The Space Race



The image that I found was a student project in the Visual arts program designed by Philips Jacoby. His project was based on a calendar in an abstract design.The calendar’s theme were the 12 different types of invented air crafts throughout history. Of these twelve  month series, I found September to one of the most appealing months, in both design and subject. The aircraft that was represented in this month is the history of  the space race and how Neil Armstrong first landed in space in 1969.

I thought the most compelling thing about the September poster concerning this subject was not just the information I learned but also the design of the subject. In my perspective, the color combination works very well in complementing each other without distracting from each other. The artist uses the orange-red and the blue to show the differences in the aircraft that he describes, but also shows the intensity of the race between them. What also caught my eye concerning this work was the composition, and how each object was laid out in a way where it related but represents its part in historical fact.

The artifacts represented is this poster are space crafts once from the United States and Russia. The American aircraft consists of a rectangular body and cone shaped nose that on the top an antenna is attached in the shape of an arrow. The Russian aircraft on the right very much differs in shape. The top portion of the body has a circular form with two antenna poking out with equal distance from each other. On the bottom of the craft, it is formed as if it were a partially cut  diamond shape. Attached to the lower portion of the diamond are four oval antennae, two overlapping each other, the pairs equally apart on one side of the body. Three straight antennae, the shape of an ink pen tip, pokes out from the right ,off center.

The arrangement of the text is what I found to be a plus about this poster. The arrangement of the text is both legible as well as it helps with the movement. Visually, the type arrangement helped with the movement of the text from up to down and back up. White space on this design is not that utilized, but the white space is used to represent the light source and how they are used to create a brightness. Altogether I found that the poster was not only informative for the viewer of a historical moment but also found it is visually attractive with its color combination and the use of light and space to convey the idea and the feeling of outer space and its emptiness.





Thanks, Lucian Bernard.

The first decisive blow against the Art Nouveau movement came from Lucian Bernhard in 1906 in the form of a poster. The designer entered a competition to design an advertisement for a German match company, first illustrating a poster using the popular German Jugendstil style. Upon rejection, Bernhard entered a second poster – this one compiled of a plain black background, a pair of matches, and the company’s name. The strategy was addition by subtraction; the designer wished to have control of the viewer’s attention. By showing only the two most important advertising elements on the poster, he was able to do so; and so, the Sachplakat style was born.

Rather than designing with ornamental complexity through the use of Art Nouveau, Sachplakat portrayed products directly, aiming to convey blunt messages to consumers through simplified advertisements. The concept was a revolutionary change in the design world, embracing the concept of addition by subtraction. Companies were no longer able to hire designers that would obscure their product through the complex designs of recent styles. While the style was not well-accepted by all, it was indeed progressive.

Although it was not realized at first, Sachplakat was beneficial to product sales and was a colossal accomplishment in the world of poster design. In comparison to previous styles, this was the first time that the product was the focal point as opposed to a message. Companies aimed to  gain customers through the effectiveness of their product instead of the design of their poster. If this change were to occur today, this would also be effective. Companies could hire designers and product photographers, rather than illustrators. It would take less time to design a poster since there was no need for illustration. The style was greatly effective for product design; however, Sachplakat is not easily transferable to event or service posters. Simplistic design for these things is effective; however, it requires more thought and effort than just portraying a product.

Although introduced over 100 years ago, Sachplakat is used widely in 2016. Many advertisements today use a variation of this style, gaining the attention of passer-bys with plain backgrounds and thoroughly planned typography. Technology companies use this strategy quite often, Apple specifically. Using one sans-serif typeface and a light-colored background, designers illustrate the product name, a catchphrase, and a photograph of the product. Today, designers face issues of which typefaces to use, whether or not to introduce photographs, and color schemes. Like twentieth century Germany, these challenges are faced by trial and error. It is a matter of learning the product audience and trying different strategies to learn what works best for your product. Sachplakat was a revolutionary step in the world of design and paved the way for simplistic blunt design.

Hans Rudi Erdt

Hans Rudi Erdt its an artist born and based in Germany. Erdt is one of the main artists working in the Sachplakat (Poster Style) movement. In the Sachplakat movement, artist wok with simplified forms, colors, and shapes to get an idea across.


A 2658

In “UBoote Herasus” (The U-Boats Are Out!), Erdt uses Sachplakat for the advertising of a movie poster promoting the government film celebrating submarine warfare. This poster breaks things into simplified shapes and colors. The Figure is in the foreground and blocked out into peach, black, and red shapes. The typography in this poster is simple yet experimental. The “U” is centralized in the composition, it encompasses the commander and the boat sinking in the back.  The black silhouette of the “U” and boat echo each other. Although this poster was made specifically for a movie; it still has elements of World War 1 propaganda.

In the Moslem Poster Erdt uses Sachplakat to advertise cigarettes. This poster uses four colors black, red, white, and peach. The background combines effortlessly with the figure in a minimalist fashion. The Cigarette smoke makes a shape that wraps around the “M” in Moslem. Both of these posters show how Sachplakat is used for advertising in different ways.

Manoli Limit poster takes a slightly different approach to Sachplakat. In this poster there is no figure and the main focus is the cigarettes. The box of Manoli’s are open with cigarettes all across the ground. “Manoli” is repeated multiple times, in the title and along with the box. Conceptually, this piece works perfectly because the main focus (the product) is never lost.

Hans Rudi Erdt is an artist that uses Sachplakat to advertise and promote numerous concepts and ideas, from World War 1 propaganda movie posters to cigarette ads.

Works Cited


Lucian Bernhard

Lucian Bernhard was a German designer and graphic artist from the early 20th century. He studied at the Munich Art Academy and later moved to Berlin and New York to pursue commercial work. The Beggarstaff Brothers, and British artists William Nicholson and James Pryde mainly influenced him in his work in advertising and modern design. His client list included names such as Cat’s Paw, Westinghouse, Bosh, Priester, Manoli, and many more. Before Bernhard started his work, posters in Berlin were more ornate and wordy; Bernhard’s posters simplified design. The style of Berhard’s work is most clearly described from his quote: “You see with your eyes, not your brain”. He emphasized working by instinct, and his work reflected that.


Early on in his career Berhard did very simple design work, making pieces that would change the history of poster design. When he won the Priester Matches Company poster contest he created the first Sachplakat, or object poster. This piece highlights the match company with minimal bold letters and a plain image. The companies name along with a simplistic image of matches is placed in the center of a black background. These two features are both shown in bold color. The only other subject matter on the page is Bernhard’s usual signature, bold BERN and HARD in the lower left corner of the frame. Later in Bernhard’s career, he turned towards early German gothic poster style. During World War 1, he worked for the German government making poster propaganda. His work during this time is recognized by its stark images and bright colored letters to highlight important words, like in his poster: This is the way to peace—the enemy wants it that way. This piece in particular, and others during this period, are more dramatic than his earlier work, and used an older-looking textura font.


During his career, Lucian Bernhard shaped the style of product and advertising posters. He’s one of the most important German poster artists in history, being very influential in the development of the Sachplakat, or object poster.