Katherine McCoy – Cranbook Academy Poster

Caption: Katherine McCoy, Cranbrook Design Academy Poster, 1971


Post: This poster is an advertisement for the Cranbrook Design Academy. It was designed by Katherine McCoy in 1971, which is at the same time in which she started her company, McCoy & McCoy, as well as the same time period in which she was appointed as the co-chair of th graduate design program at Cranbrook Academy. This poster was meant to advertise for the Cranbrook Academy. In this poster, Katherine McCoy uses a wide range of symbols, tools, and art in order to convey the intriguing nature of the program at Cranbrook Academy. She includes famous graphic design works, both posters and industrial graphic design work, as well as famous graphic designers and tools of the graphic design trade. By including all of these things in the poster, McCoy is attempting to convey the scope of graphic design. She is also attempting to include the major focuses of the Cranbrook Academy – experimentation, creativity, and innovation. This poster could have been a flyer that simply stated what the Cranbrook Academy is known for, or included some of the famous works from it’s students. Katherine McCoy, however, chose to include a wide range of symbols that represent the different fields and ideas in graphic design in order to convey the reputation of the Cranbrook Academy. I selected this poster for this assignment because I feel as if it conveys the nature of the Cranbrook Academy graduate program for graphic design, and shows the way Katherine McCoy intended for the program to be structured. By focusing on experimentation within this poster, McCoy is conveying how the program itself focuses on experimentation. In addition, while some may not find this poster very appealing, it conveys one of Katherine McCoy’s main focuses: graphic design based on interpreted and innovative theory. By electing to make this poster somewhat wild and crazy, Katherine McCoy is showing the scope of what is possible in graphic design if one throws professionalism to the wind and allows for creativity to flow through. I feel as if this poster shows what Katherine McCoy deems important in the field of graphic design, and conveys what she hoped to teach her students throughout her time at the Cranbrook Academy.