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ARCHIVED - Posters and Broadsides in Canada

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Advertising and Marketing

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Marketing is a very broad term, involving several activities (including pricing, positioning, efficient production and promotion) all directed at ensuring goods and services reach consumers. For most of us, however, it's all just advertising, the most public and intrusive aspect of marketing.

Early advertising agencies made their fortunes by selling space and time: taking a commission or percentage of the cost of placing the ad in print or electronic media, often providing all their creative services for free. Arguably, ads have come to dominate television and publishing; paradoxically, they both deliver and interrupt television and radio shows, magazines and websites.

Black-and-white photograph of a busy street scene with pedestrians, cars and streetcars. Buildings in the background have prominent signs on them


Figure 1

Posters have played a relatively small part in advertising, but are a very public medium nonetheless. With the exception of billboards and hoardings, which are reserved for commercial exploitation, most posters insinuate themselves onto whatever surfaces they can find. The poster's presence is perhaps a little more restrained in our culture, closer to decoration, and is thus a somewhat different and perhaps a more welcome form of marketing. Posters are often allowed freedom to explore the artistic and expressive side of graphic design. At their best they provide a highly memorable, original image and put on a bold display of typography.

Figure 1: View of St. Catherine Street looking east from Stanley Avenue, Montréal, Quebec, 1930

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