The establishment of the pharmaceutical industry, especially in the mid-20th century, played a significant role in the evolution of graphic design and advertising. Herb Lubalin created some of his most influential work while working for Sudler & Hennessey, an advertising agency which specialized in pharmaceutical marketing. PHARMA features a diverse array of original ephemera, rarely seen publicly, by many pioneering graphic designers including Lester Beall, Will Burtin, Paul Rand, Franco Grignani, staff of Geigy and Herb Lubalin, as well as contributions by Carl Fischer and Andy Warhol.
The exhibition highlights a defining change, as the marketing of brand name drugs to the consumer marked a paradigm shift in medicine away from physicians and into the hands of pliable public opinion. The actions of the pharmaceutical industry reflect both a reactive response to increased government regulation and a proactive attention to the demands of American consumerism.
While PHARMA provides examples of past and present, the public is encouraged to reflect and question the role of graphic design in the marketing of drugs, how that has changed over the years and, more importantly, why.
Mailer for Geigy designed by Max Schmid, 1951; Courtesy of Display
Advertisement for Geigy c. 1954-55; Courtesy of Display
Ad for Dompe by Franco Grignani, 1954; Courtesy of Display
Exhibition dates: November 1–December 3, 2011
41 Cooper Gallery at The Cooper Union 41 Cooper Square, New York, NY 10003
If this exhibition interests you, I highly recommend the book: Corporate Diversity: Swiss Graphic Design and Advertising by Geigy 1940-1970
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