Black and White Town

Later this month, an exhibition at London’s SEA Gallery will reveal the results of a simple brief given to 28 of the best designers working today to create an A1 black and white poster.

An Exhibition in Mono has been brought together by poster and print website Blanka. The site’s creator, designer Mark Blamire, had the idea to launch an exhibition celebrating the company’s first anniversary. “I didn’t want to let our first year of Blanka slip by with out marking the occasion and I liked the idea of having an event to communicate our goals and express our gratitude to everyone who helped get the company off the ground.”

Blamire’s aim was to contact a range of designers to work on creating a poster themed on a single word from graphic design terminology. “I wanted to strip away a lot of the process of print to create something bold, striking and honest. The simplicity of only having one colour to play with can leave some designers feeling stripped naked, with no effects to hide behind, which is kind of the challenge I wanted to set. The most successful results are those that have attacked the objectives of the brief head on and, by doing so, have delivered some very brave, thought-provoking answers.”

The actual brief in Blamire’s  initial email was simple: “Please produce one poster design, A1 (840mm x 594m), one way up (must be displayed portrait format only), one colour: black ink on white paper (GFSmith Phoenix Motion).” Among the designers with finished work in the show are Bibliothèque, NB: Studio, Corey Holms, Wim Crouwel, Tom Hingston and Peter Saville. Image Now’s stunning poster on the theme of “measure” charts every punch thrown during the Rumble

in the Jungle fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali in 1974. Each three-minute round is illustrated by a 180º arc and every connecting punch is mapped at the moment of contact: Ali’s by a dashed line, Foreman’s by a solid.

The “1” in the title of the show refers both to the anniversary of Blanka and, says Blamire, the way the company operates as a “cooperative of creative talent, with the philosophy of everyone working as one entity.” Michael C Place of Build, a regular Blanka collaborator, was brought in to oversee the design of the project. This included producing the poster for the exhibition alongside the show catalogue. All the posters were printed by Generation Press.


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