November 16, 2022

Polski Projekt: Polish Posters and Typefaces

November 18, 2022 through February 28, 2023
Opening Reception: November 17 from 5–8 p.m.

Celebrating Poland’s rich heritage of graphic communication, Polski Projekt, an exhibition presented by the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT) at ArtCenter College of Design, brings together work from two practices: poster and type design. The exhibition represents the history of both fields emerging from a society with strong sociopolitical disruptions, a cultural dependence on national traditions and a slow pace of economic and commercial growth.

Widely admired for their brash wit and strength of gesture, the Polish poster reveals highly individualistic and often painterly approaches to poster design based on ambiguity and metaphor. Unable to access basic materials and design technologies, graphic designers living in the People’s Republic of Poland (1947–1989) worked in continuous negotiation with the state—the only client available to them. The posters in the exhibition were designed by renowned artists associated with the Polish Poster School including Henryk Tomaszewski, Franciszek Starowieyski, Jan Lenica, Roman Cieślewicz and Waldemar Świerzy, among others.

Contrary to the hand-drawn, self-expressive lettering used in the posters, the type specimens in Polski Projekt showcase typefaces created for the automated setting of texts (typesetting). Dating as far back as the 15th century, this retrospective of Polish type design, reproduced using metal foundry type, matrices, transfer media and, more recently, digital font technology, illustrates the limitless sources of inspiration and the growing social role of typography in Poland.

The works in the exhibition represent a sample of the Polish Poster Collection housed at the HMCT Archive, which includes nearly 200 posters dating from the mid-20th century to the present day. These posters were acquired in 2019 through a generous donation by Leonard Konopelski—artist, designer and longtime educator at ArtCenter College of Design.

The type specimens are on loan from Typoteka.pl, an index of historical and contemporary typefaces created by authors—type designers, artists, letterers, engravers and punch-cutters—associated with Poland. Typoteka.pl was researched and compiled by Mateusz Machalski, Michał Jarociński, Andrzej Tomaszewski, Adam Twardoch, Ania Wieluńska and Borys Kosmynka. The collection currently resides at the Book Arts Museum in Poland.

The exhibition runs November 18, 2022 through February 28, 2023, with a public reception on Thursday, November 17, from 5–8 p.m.

HMCT South Campus Gallery is located at ArtCenter College of Design, 950 S. Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, California 91105.

The exhibition is free and open to the public. It is accessible daily when the College is in term, 9 a.m.–7 p.m.

Social Media
@hmctartcenter
@artcenteredu

About Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography: The mission of the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography is to set the standard of excellence in typography education; elevate and advance the teaching and understanding of both letterform design and typographic practice; provide valuable support and service to the educational and professional communities, reinforcing the meaning and value of typography; and to honor the past and anticipate the future of typography in a society of rapidly changing visual communication methods.

About ArtCenter College of Design: Founded in 1930 and located in Pasadena, California, ArtCenter College of Design is a global leader in art and design education. ArtCenter offers 11 undergraduate and 10 graduate degrees in a wide variety of industrial design disciplines as well as visual and applied arts. In addition to its top-ranked academic programs, the College also serves members of the Greater Los Angeles region through a highly regarded series of year-round extension programs for all ages and levels of experience. Renowned for both its ties to industry and its social impact initiatives, ArtCenter is the first design school to receive the United Nations’ Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status in recognition of its commitment to social impact design through Designmatters. Throughout the College’s long and storied history, ArtCenter alumni have had a profound impact on popular culture, the way we live and important issues in our society.

Contact:
Teri Bond
Director of Media Relations
ArtCenter College of Design
teri.bond@artcenter.edu
626-396-2385 office

Susan Malmstrom
Director of Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography
ArtCenter College of Design
susan.malmstrom@artcenter.edu 
626-376-2794

Jan Lenica, Alban Berg Wozzeck, Theatre poster, 38 x 26 in., 1964. 

Franciszek Starowieyski, Iluminacja (Illumination), Film poster, 33 x 23 in., 1973.

Adam Półtawski, Antykwa Półtawskiego, type specimen, 1931.
From the collection of Typoteka.pl.