Opel Poster (1911)

Plakatstil or sachplakat, a style of poster art popular in Germany in the 20th century started by an artist named Lucian Bernhard in 1906 and was popular through to the start of WW1. Identifiable by the common characteristic of the bold distinctive lettering with flat colours throughout. Specifically, the poster I shall be talking about is the Opel poster design by Hans Rudi Erdt, made in 1911.

The charm of this poster comes from its simplicity and ambiguity, advertising a car yet not actually containing an image or distinguishable feature of the car but instead only containing the brands name with a contrasting stroke colour to the background with a plain white fill to keep up the simplicity and sophistication. Furthermore, the consistency of this sophistication is upheld by the well-dressed chauffeur as a reminded of the status of the car companies trying to convey a upper class feel while also helping to be suggestive of the subject matter.

The style in which this was created was celebrated by artists such as Lucian Bernhard and Ludwig Hohlwein and it helped give life to German advertising ass there was no design agencies in Germany prior to 1920. Beforehand posters like this one where mainly produced by printers, more specifically lithographers, a type of printing in which they use stone or a metal plate with a ball grained surface to make the print.