Michael Bierut: Architectural League of New York (Photo by Matt Flynn, copyright Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum)

Cooper Hewitt, the Smithsonian Design Museum's permanent collection in New York City, will be hosting a special exhibition exploring the graphic design of posters. With work from design pioneers such as Paul Rand and Herbert Matter, the show delves into how these designers developed and evolved concepts of composition, typography, and visual storytelling to "convey ideas and construct experiences."

Posters have a "long history and a range of social functions, from selling a product or promoting an event to arguing a point at a moment in history." Posters - and by extension, postcards, business cards, even web images - must quickly and concisely communicate a message to viewers. The more layered the image, the longer the message stays with us.

Lucian Bernhard: Adler (Photo by Matt Flynn, copyright Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum)

The show itself is divided into 14 distinct categories, such as "Use Text as Image", "Tell a Story", and "Make Eye Contact". Cooper Hewitt had plenty of material to work with - their collection currently houses more than 4,000 posters ranging from avant garde to contemporary pieces. 

Cooper Hewitt's poster exhibition runs from May 8th until November 15th. Head over to their website for more information.