Since its inception in 1912, the Calgary Stampede has consistently issued well-designed promotional posters. As described by Greg Ball of the Canadian Design Resource, “The graphic design of each of these posters are fantastic expressions of the era from which they were produced.” This year’s poster is no exception, managing to feel perfectly at home in 2007, while still remaining grounded in the Stampede’s rich history.
What makes this poster so good?
- It employs colours that make sense for audience and theme. The brown background evokes 100% earthy, cowboy grit. Nothing’s more natural, organic and western than the colour of dirt, and for fashionable, city-dwelling Calgarians, brown still stands out as a trendy, urban colour. It’s the perfect choice.
- It uses original, evocative artwork. The original feature painting, created by Calgary artist Paul Van Ginkel, gives off the rich vibe of rugged, pioneer times. Rather than choosing to illustrate modern elements like the midway rides or the iconic Saddledome, the poster lets the history do the talking.
- It embraces simplicity. Instead of flooding the promo poster with wordy descriptions of the Stampede, the poster opts for stately simplicity, letting the Stampede stand on the strength of its own legend. The Stampede is uniquely privileged to do this, as most people already know the details of the legendary exhibition.
- It uses themed design elements. All elements of the poster are grounded in a late 1800s/early 1900s flavour. The well-spaced, all-capitals serif font along the top gives a classic air, while the Western-style font at the bottom, also in all-caps, also provides a hint of heritage. Additionally, the art nouveau borders and lines are also from this era, adding a subtle nod to design history.
All in all, this is another classic poster to add to the gallery of exceptional graphic design produced by the Calgary Stampede. If anybody knows the name of the designer of the 2007 poster, we’d love to give him or her due credit in this article.
The Calgary Stampede’s official website offers a full gallery of all the Stampede posters since the 1910s. If you’re interested in browsing through a rich history of era-specific graphic design, we encourage you to check out the collection. Here are a few samples of what you’ll find: