Herbstflugwoche Johannisthal

Julius Klinger1913

The National Museum in Warsaw

The National Museum in Warsaw
Warsaw, Poland

Advertising such a particular phenomenon as was aviation in the early 20th century, was a real challenge for a graphic designer. Novelties in itself are attractive and compelling to the general public. The Wright brothers inaugurated the air age, but only in 1928, when the German LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin airship was built, passenger flights gained popularity. In 1911, at the airport in Johannisthal, a town located in the outskirts of Berlin (today part of the city), one could already taste the pleasure of active participation in air shows.

In order to transmit the spirit of sky adventure and convince the public to buy tickets for the show, the graphic designer had to search for modern artistic means, other than these overloaded with decoration, advocated by the still fashionable Art Nuveau style. Modernity was then associated with simplification of form, sachplakat - called plakat rzeczowy in Poland - being its reflection. A more scarce arsenal of artistic means of expression helped to maintain poster's clarity. The colour palette was reduced, in this case it is limited to orange, black, navy blue and sky blue. Shapes were simplified to the minimum. We can observe a flat contour of an airplane with brave passengers on board. Old-fashioned garments associated with the 17th century – ruffs and hats – attract attention. What is their function in the poster? Are they supposed to convince the most conservative part of society to try out some novelty? At the time, aviation was still at the stage of experimentation and was treated as a hobby. It was not so obvious that the plane would become our regular means of transport.

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  • Title: Herbstflugwoche Johannisthal
  • Creator: Julius Klinger
  • Date: 1913
  • Inv. no.: Pl.O.2164/1
  • Type: Posters
  • Medium: lithography