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Paperback144 PagesSize: 290 × 240 mm
111 colour illustrations and 19 B&W illustrations
ISBN: 9781848224704Publication: March 12, 2021

The IBM Poster Program

Visual Memoranda

Robert Finkel and Shea Tillman


£29.95 GBP

Available for preorder: this book will be shipped on its publication date of March 12, 2021

  • Features 111 award-winning posters 
  • Outstanding examples of mid-century graphic design 
  • Unique insight into one of the most important corporations of the 20th century


In the late 1960s, IBM was one of the world’s pre-eminent corporations,
employing over 250,000 people in 100 countries and producing some of the most advanced
products on earth. IBM President Thomas J. Watson Jnr. sought to
elevate the company’s image by hiring world-renowned design consultants, including Eliot
Noyes and Paul Rand. As well as
developing the iconic IBM logo and a corporate design guide, Rand also brought
together a remarkable team of internal staff designers. 

One of the designers he hand-picked was Ken
White, who, along with John Anderson and Tom Bluhm, headed up the design team at the IBM Design Center in Boulder, Colorado. Together, they initiated
a poster program as a platform for elevating internal communications and
initiatives within the company. These posters were displayed in hallways,
conferences rooms and cafeterias throughout IBM campuses, with subject matter including
everything from encouraging equal opportunity policies to reminders on best
security practices to promoting a family fun day. Designers often incorporated
figurative typography, dry humor, visual puns, and photography to craft
memorable and compelling messages. Many of the posters won Type Directors Club awards
and a large number were ‘re-appropriated’ from walls by enthusiastic IBM

While Paul Rand’s creative genius has been
well documented, the work of the IBM staff designers who executed his intent
outlined in the IBM Design Guide have often gone less noticed. The poster
designs by White, Anderson, and Bluhm included in this book represent some of
the most creative examples of mid-century corporate graphic design, while
offering a unique commentary into corporate employee communications of the
period. They also embody the full extent to which Thomas J. Watson Jr.’s
mantra, “Good Design is Good Business” permeated every facet of the IBM
organization, and created a lasting influence on curated corporate design in

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