Poster House, New York City’s newest museum, is the first such institution in the United States dedicated exclusively to posters. This unique exhibition fills a void in the cultural landscape of a city with a long relationship with advertising and design. The Museum presents a global view of posters from their earliest appearance in the late 1800s, to their present-day use, exploring everything from avant-garde design, to changing societal norms, and all the fads and fashions over the last 160 years.
Featured in the visitor experience is the Poster Machine, a unique digital, interactive display station. With each touch of the LED screen the user begins a journey through design history learning how colors, fonts, images and words combine to create their very own poster.
Valerie Crosswhite, Board President at Poster House said “Our thinking behind it was to create a game that would engage people about design history, specifically through the lens of poster design. Hopefully this game will draw people in and engage them on the history as well as the process.”
The Poster Machine was designed by Kasa Collective, which produces high-impact interactive experiences for cultural, corporate, and public spaces. There are three Poster Machine stations. Each uses a TSiTouch 80-point capacitive sensor over a LG 32″ screen. Instead of a standard media player powering the experience, the design team decided to connect a Mac Mini to each station for stability and performance speed.
Kasa’s design team also opted not to use a standard CMS software platform. Robert de Saint Phalle “We developed a native MacOS app with a custom ID management system that allows us to load the text and visual assets directly through the Finder folder system. We did it that way, so that we can optimize speed, font rendering, and smooth animations.”
Those smooth transitions lead to ease of use by the designer as they use the Poster Machine to design their work. Once completed, the machine displays the finished artwork, detailing the theme, stencil, color, font, phrase and style of the poster. The most challenging part of designing this interactive game according to Saint Phalle was creating and organizing thousands of image permutations for each stage and option of the Poster Machine.
According to Crosswhite, most people looking at a poster only notice bad design, if they notice design at all. “The Poster Machine will hopefully give a glimpse into the creative process of poster design and encourage people to think about it differently”.
Poster House opened in late June. On exhibit is a fantastic collection, Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau/Nouveau Femme. This is the first time the works of the most celebrated graphic designer of the Art Nouveau movement — and Sarah Bernhardt’s Poster designer of choice — has been shown in NYC.
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