Carnival Poster “Rescue”

Some people hoard animals in need of a good home; I hoard posters. While my friends (link 1 and link 2) were in town, we headed over to Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles, where a street fair augmented the already-festive atmosphere of the oldest part of LA. I spotted this hard-to-miss, day-glo poster and recognized it immediately as the work of the Colby Poster Printing company. They’re still using “old school” methods to create advertising posters, including letterpress and silkscreen, and I think it’s just plain fantastic. It was posted in several places along Olvera, but I didn’t have the cojones to even ask anyone about it, much less steal a beautiful work of public literature. Luckily, my friend Noah has nerves of steel, and asked the hostess at one of the restaurants there if he could have the poster that was taped to their lectern. It was that simple. I’m going to have to do that more often.

Stylistically, the poster interests me because of the fluorescent inks (which seem silkscreened?) and the beautiful mix of type (quite possibly letterpress printed, but possibly silkscreened), from the workhorse condensed gothics, to the bifurcated Tuscan type of “CARNIVAL,” to the brilliant rising-slope “thru” sort of the date span. The archaic, cartoony illustration is clearly a product of another [um, diversity-free] era, but it’s charming and joyful nonetheless. This whole thing simply isn’t done anymore. And that’s why I love it.

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