Othello, poster, Gunter Rambow, 1999, Hessisches Staatstheater, Germany.
This poster was created by the designer Gunter Rambow to promote Shakespeare’s well known play Othello at the Hessisches Staatstheatre in Wiesbaden, being one of 80 that he did for the company.He manages to completely capture the themes of. murder, jealously and betrayal in the play and encompass then all in a style that is uniquely his own. For many of his pieces, Rambow used a minimalistic design with a simps but effective use of colour that is designed to draw the attention of the viewer in. In this design, Gunter Rambow perfectly showcases his knowledge on minimalistic design by using using simple geometric shapes to symbolise the main character in the play and indeed the title Othello’s eyes. He then positions the pupils of the eyes, which in this case are also a simple design, on the left hand side looking away. This simple techniques gives the character in the poster a sense of distrust or jealousy without over complicating the overall design.
Then on the right hand side of the poster there is a single drop of blood cascading vertically down Othello’s face. This not only makes the whole play suggest there is a more sinister atmosphere the characters actions but also creates depth compared to the minimalistic background.
Most posters that Gunter Rambow designed in this series included little to no text, with just a striking graphic to draw people in and the plays title in bold lettering.
The title itself represents the mouth of the image through a typographic form. Rambow tended to use the font Sans Serif in upper case for his titles as the near-uniform width and strokes allow the titles to be legible from a far distance. . Then, in order to attract more attention from the public, the overall poster was printed in an A0 format (twice the average poster size in Germany). The overall background of the poster follows Rambow’s minimalistic designs as he just uses black. This allows the viewer to guess the theme of race in the play and how it is a leading factor to how Othello views himself throughout the play.
However, during the mid-sixties to late eighties, the designer did steer away from his extreme minimalistic designs by incorporating photographs and typography. By using physical objects that are seen everyday with simple shape and colours, Rambow recalls his times studying poster design at the Hochschule fur Bildende Kunste in Kassel during the early 60’s.
For his posters, the designer was influenced by his teacher Ernst Rottger who taught him his Bauhaus-style education at the Hochschule. This overall contributes to Rambows Othello poster with is displayed in its simplest graphic from while still maintaining the dramatic and dark atmosphere of the play.
This poster was created during the 90’s which saw the birth of programmes such as Photoshop, which completely changed the styles of how posters were done. Although not first considered as a particularly breakthrough era for graphic design, grunge music, flannel and Seattle style started to emerge as people became more interested in seeing the imperfections in day-to-day life and making perfect in an art form. Rambow used the changing of an era to his advantage by complementing his sometimes chaotic photography with clear and simplistic text.