Graphic design is separate from the above media due to its commercial applications. It can be defined as any art form that “sells.” It can sell a corporate image, as in a company logo or a product, as in a print advertisement or billboard. Typical of all art media, it must convey information or narratives to the viewer, but unlike paintings or prints, the information must be clear and unambiguous. Due to their short attention spans, viewers or potential consumers must recognize the corporate or product name, receive new information on the product advertised, and gain a favorable inclination toward the company and product. Graphic design accomplishes this through a clear presentation of the elements of design, composition, and text. Therefore, we will ask ourselves, how has the designer manipulated the text (lettering), design elements, and other compositional elements to lure viewers and hopefully convince them to pick up the product and buy into it.





The first example is a lithographic poster that could be reproduced hundreds of times and distributed and posted over an entire city akin to modern billboards.  A.M. Cassandre’s poster for the Northern Railroad, 1927, advertises the new Paris to Amsterdam rail line. The most striking element of this poster is the contrast between the aerodynamic and organic lines of the rails and the bold mechanical type around the frame. The type is in a sans serif font, which eliminates decorative curls and hand drawn edges. Instead the font remains contemporary, modern, and mechanical, appropriate for a 1920’s symbol of technology. The lines of the tracks converge at a star upon the horizon not only suggesting the destination of the voyage up north, but also the fluid and easy train ride. Colors used are steel grays, greens, and blues, which look metallic and cold, like the steel of the tracks. While the frame and lettering create symmetry and balance, the alternation of blue and yellow in the frame and the asymmetry of the tracks create variety. Overall, this highly sophisticated and clean image creates a positive impression of rail travel to potential consumers in the early 20th century.