Who’s Who in Graphic Design: Secession 16 Ausstellung

Alfred Roller designed this poster for the 16th Vienna Secession Exhibition in 1902 or 1903. It was one of a few that were designed to promote the exhibition. Although it is less famous than the other work that he did for the multiple exhibitions he had designed for, it still draws the viewer’s eye because of its bold nature. This work is much more focused on typography than image, and that is prevalent through the simple background and text that acts as the image instead. The text is quite busy and at times hard to read, but the visual balance that is being created makes the viewer understand the poster’s purpose. The word “secession” is printed at the top, with the letter “S” creating a curve leading the viewer down to the rest of the information. Roller uses his handmade typeface to give viewers a sense of familiarity, considering many would have seen this same style of typeface in his earlier work for Ver Sacrum Periodical. This poster is rather unlike a lot of Roller’s other more image-based posters. It is much more experimental in its use of soft colors under bold black text. It could not be said that this poster is exemplary of the whole aesthetic style of the time, but it definitely holds its place among the other work.