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This town ain’t big enough for the both of us

Design trends come and go whether in graphic design, fashion, and even fine art. One that has popped up recently is this old western wanted poster aesthetic. It became really obvious when I first saw the “True Grit” movie poster.

True Grit movie poster

I thought it was so ingenious to use a completely typographical solution for a movie poster. Since when have you last seen a movie poster without a photo or even image on it? On top of that it is almost monochromatic, black text on a beige background. This is except for the bullet hole with blood running down which brings a wonderful organic, bright detail to an almost symmetrical layout.

This style of course was not an intentional style at the time. In the 1800’s, color reproduction of images was in its infancy. Therefore, people who created these posters (would they would have called themselves designers yet?) had to use different fonts in different styles and sizes to illustrate their points. Also, the letters were so large they had to use wood type because carving the letters out of metal would be just too expensive. The wood type, though cheap, deteriorated much faster and caused much more inconsistency in the letters. Today, this inconsistency is considered beautiful, a response to designers and the public alike who are bombarded and bored everyday with computer-perfect graphics and images.

I too, am guilty of this of this Western revival. In fact, I based my whole identity on this fully justified typographical solution instead of a traditional logo.

shameless self promotion here {ssmurphydesign.com}

However I have always loved this wood type, western style since my first design class. As proof I have included one of my very first design projects, from an Intro to Type class.

So it almost makes me sad that it is a trend because doesn’t that mean it will go away eventually? It kinda goes with this whole handcrafted, letterpress, hand drawn trend that has evolved and has been applied to everything from wedding invites to websites. I suppose we will have to see what sticks and what slides away.

More examples of projects in this Western style acquired from various design blogs:

2 thoughts on “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us

  1. I never thought about how this poster doesn’t include images. The images are not missed. Or rather the text feels like an image in itself. I agree, it’s clever.

  2. I want to eat the peanut butter and jelly, like the jars.

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