Created by Judith Salavetz, Spencer Drate, and Sam Sarowitz (with elegantly concise writing by Dave Kehr) Art of the Modern Movie Poster is the definitive survey of post-World War II movie posters and their rich international history. It’s a monumental achievement of design research and belongs in the collection of anyone who values graphic design and illustration.
At 11″ x 13″ (28cm x 33cm) and over 500 pages, AMMP is as weighty and substantial as its contents. The binding and construction are built to last, and no expense was spared on the weight of the paper or the quality of the ink. (With 1500 color images, that’s really saying something.)
The dimensions allow for massive spreads of varied layouts and generous reproductions of the book’s countless posters. While the book is undeniably heavy, it sits comfortably on your lap without cutting off circulation to your legs. And this is good, because you’ll probably want to sit with it for a long while.
The book is organized into sections by geographic region with dozens of subsections that spotlight especially prolific or influential designers, people like Roman Cieślewicz, Ercole Brini, Hans Hillman and Saul Bass.
Dave Kehr’s writing is consistently spot on. Informative but never pretentious, he builds valuable context for each section of the book, incorporating his impressive grasp of the histories of cinema and graphic design.
What is truly astounding, though, is the attention given to a global cornucopia of work. Every corner of the world is heartily represented, from the US to Japan and Scandavia to Australia. The combined curatorial powers of the book’s creators is almost overwhelming in its breadth and depth.
One thing I really love: Throughout the book are special poster comparison spreads that show how a single movie was represented by several different international designers. It’s a wonderful feature that proves the cultural significance of graphic design by example.
The Bottom Line
AMMP lists for $75, but it’s currently available for $64.95 USD at YouWorkForThem. It’s worth every penny.
This isn’t a book that will sit on my shelf—loved once and then forgotten; it’s a treasure that will stay within grasp, a centerpiece for future conversations and a reminder of the wonder I feel when confronted with beautiful design.
Get it. Now. Seriously.