I’m a huge fan of the great posters from the popular uprising in May 1968 in France. So simple, elegant, and yet rough and ragged at the same time. (Also, I support the goals of that uprising!)
Some of the best of these were created by the Atelier Populaire, a collective of art students and others who worked day and night during that struggle to make these powerful images.
I have mixed feelings about the new typeface called Populaire. It’s lovingly produced, including a whole selection of graphic elements that reproduce parts of the posters.
But it seems to me that its kind of a betrayal of the vision of the original artists to copy their work and then charge people for access. After all, these were people who were giving their time and labor to a cause — and it wasn’t the cause of “making a profit.”
But don’t take it from me. Have a listen to the Atelier artists themselves:
“The posters produced by the ATELIER POPULAIRE are weapons in the service of the struggle and are an inseparable part of it. Their rightful place is in the centers of conflict, that is to say, in the streets and on the walls of the factories. To use them for decorative purposes, to display them in bourgeois places of culture or to consider them as objects of aesthetic interest is to impair both their function and their effect. This is why the ATELIER POPULAIRE has always refused to put them on sale. Even to keep them as historical evidence of a certain stage in the struggle is a betrayal, for the struggle itself is of such primary importance that the position of an “outside” observer is a fiction which inevitably plays into the hands of the ruling class. That is why these works should not be taken as the final outcome of an experience, but as an inducement for finding, through contact with the masses, new levels of action, both on the cultural and the political plane.”