Become an Expert: What to Read, Watch and Follow

There are so many excellent resources for exploring graphic design and the history of posters, whether you’re interested in a broad overview or more in-depth research.


Listed here are a few of the publications I find most useful for general information. For reading recommendations on more specific topics in poster history, please contact Grafa Gallery.

How Posters Work 

Ellen Lupton. New York: Cooper Hewitt, 2015.

This book of essays accompanied a 2015 exhibition at Cooper Hewitt showcasing posters from the museum’s extensive collection. The essays explore the various ways graphic designers create meaningful and effective poster designs.

Meggs' History of Graphic Design, 6th Edition

Philip B. Meggs. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2016.

This bible of graphic design history is essential reading for an understanding of posters within the broader context of graphic design history.

The History of Graphic Design, Vols. 1 and 2

Jens Müller. Köln: Taschen, 2019.

These two monumental compendiums of graphic design history are expertly edited and beautifully illustrated — and include many examples of poster design. Volume 1 covers the years 1890-1959 and Volume 2 covers the period 1960 to today.

Graphic Design Visionaries

Caroline Roberts. London: Laurence King Publishing, 2015.

Roberts's book includes profiles important graphic designers and includes many international masters of poster design.

Poster Power! Great Posters and How to Make Them

Teresa Sdralevich. London: Cicada, 2017.

This creative hands-on guide to making posters offers a clear, concise overview of how posters communicate ideas. One of my new favorites!

The Poster: A Visual History

Gill Saunders and Margaret Timber’s, eds. London: V&A Publications, 2020.

This recent overview of the Victoria and Albert museum’s extensive poster collection includes an excellent introductory essay on the history of posters as well as an interesting look at recent developments in digital poster-making.

The 20th Century Poster: Design of the Avant-Garde

Dawn Ades. New York: Abbeville Press, 1984.

This exhibition catalog from a major poster show at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, although not recent, is still relevant for its excellent essays on the modern movements that shaped poster design in the 20th century.  

The Modern Poster

Stuart Wrede. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1988.

Another catalog from a seminal poster exhibition, this volume provides an introduction to the vast poster holdings at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  


History of the Poster

A fun, very brief (2 minute) introduction to the French poster craze of late 19th century.

Une jounée au Lézard Graphique

This video offers a glimpse inside the renowned French silkscreening studio Lézard Graphique as they print a large-scale poster. Quite a few posters in the Grafa Gallery collection were printed by Lézard Graphique. (No need to know French, there’s no dialogue!)

Paula Scher, Designer

Abstract, The Art of Design, season 1, episode 2. Netflix. A fascinating look at the work of American graphic designer Paula Scher.

Websites + Social Media


This website devoted to contemporary posters includes interviews with prominent graphic designers from around the world.

Typographic Posters

Designers submit their posters to be included in this huge aggregation of contemporary poster work.


This leading design publication, newly relaunched, includes the Daily Heller, a column on design written by Stephen Heller, a prominent graphic design educator, author and critic.

Poster House

This museum devoted exclusively to posters, opened in New York in 2019. A very exciting addition to the poster world.

Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum

Much of the museum’s extensive poster has been photographed and published on their website with excellent explanations from the curators. The website also includes good biographies of poster designers. There’s no overview of the poster collection, but if you search for “poster” you can then sort the results into various categories (country, technique) to get a good sense of their holdings.


Frequent Instagram posts featuring interesting vintage and contemporary posters. Worth following!


Instagram feed showing posters photographed on the streets of Swiss cities. A wonderful way to see contemporary posters in their natural habitat.