Design Illustration Liverpool

An Original Ad Man


By David Milligan-Croft, Creative Director / Strategist / Writer

June 15, 2010 | 3 min read

Somewhere between homicide and suicide is Merseyside.

So said the infamous Milton Jones.

However, on a recent jaunt to Liverpool to visit a client I took the opportunity to pop into the Walker Gallery and was rewarded with a life-affirming exhibition of Henri de Toulouse Lautrec’s etchings and prints.

An absolute privilege to be able to view his work up close. Not just for his energetic painting style capturing the seedier side of Parisian nightlife, but also for his art direction, layout composition and typography.

Over the years we’ve all seen posts about whether advertising can be art, and I’m pretty sure that it can’t whilst it is selling something. I think it can transcend into art after it has served its purpose and becomes era defining.

In Lautrec’s case, I’ll make an exception, as he was already well known for being an artist when he was commissioned to create posters for various clubs and salons.

Any art director or designer, whether they are interested in art or not, should be aware of the influence of art in layout design purely from a composition point of view.

In this Jane Avril example I love the way he frames the ‘ad’ using the double base. (How many ‘frames’ have we seen like this for contemporary brands?)

If you’re in the North West, and have a penchant for advertising or art, I’d advise you to take a trip to the Walker. It’s free in and there’s plenty of other work to tickle your fancy if you’re not into Lautrec. It was my first time, and I shall definitely be going again.

Design Illustration Liverpool

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