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am Cassandre - Dubonnet poster

Page history last edited by Kirsten Larsen 14 years, 4 months ago


Adolph Jean Édouard-Marie Mouron Cassandre

 January, 14th/1901 - June 17th/1968



"A poster, unlike a painting, is not, and is not meant to be, a work easily distinguished by its 'manner' - a unique specimen conceived to satisfy the demanding tastes of a single more or less enlightened art lover. It is meant to be a mass-produced object existing in thousands of copies - like a fountain-pen or automobile. Like them, it is designed to answer certain strictly material needs. It must have a commercial fashion."


- Adolphe Mouron Cassandre




       AM Cassandre was born in Kharkov, Ukraine in 1901 to french parents. At the age of 14 they moved to France where he studied art and design at École des Beaux-Arts and also at the Académie Julian.


He worked at the Hachard printing house at the Place de la Madelaine in Paris up until 1922, eventually saving enough money for a studio. The Au Bûcheron' (1923) was one of his first works and it won the first prize at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs in 1925  Cassandre has worn many hats, graphic designer, type designer, painter, set-designer, teacher.



In the 1930's AM Cassandre co-founded one of the world’s first specific advertising and design agencies called the Alliance Graphique with fellow artists Charles Loupot and Maurice Moyrand. Since it's founding the AGI is now a club with 350 members from 27 countries of the world's leading graphic artists and designers. The first AGI show was in Paris in 1955. In 1969 the AGI headquarters moved to Zurich, Germany,  the most important events of the organisation are the annual AGI Congresses that take place in a different country in each year.


Not only did he influence the design world he had a major impact on the, travel, advertising, jazz, fashion and typography worlds. His art is a reflection of the post World War era, having a huge impact on the artist, the time between the two wars greatly effected art, travel and design.


He suffered from a deep depression later on and took his own life in 1968.



 Advertising World





The Dubonnet was the first of many eye catching ad campaignes that he had created which influenced the idea of billboards, the style of the poster was influenced by 1930's Art deco images and typefaces. These posters are a brilliant representaiton of the humour and playfulness behind his ideas. 


"The fast cadence of DUBO, DUBON, DUBONNET is appealing for its almost rhythmic syncopation, but there is something else going on here—in addition to the sophisticated verbal and graphic tricks, Cassandre used a more fundamental aspect of humor to achieve the final result, an activity called the “play principle."


- Steven Heller "Is there anything funny about Graphic Design?"






His posters where a blend of bright colours and designs that had been inspired by Cubism, which is an early 20th century art movement that included artists such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. The use of geometric shapes gave each poster a very unique and distinct look that would be later copied by fellow artists through out the years to come.



click below for images of Cubism

Some Examples of Cubism




Picasso     Braque



Cassandre’s posters became a  reflection of the avant-garde tendencies of the time (1920's - 30's),  as well as the modern industrialized atmosphere of Paris. His poster designs directly effected and inspired a new wave of poster art known as  Parisian poster art, in turn creating the structure of Paris painting and mechanizing it.



The distinct and sharp styles of his posters helped Polish grapic designers to hone their skills and edge, allowing  the artists to find  ways to express sedition versus ideas. Which had an impact on the emergence of the Propaganda posters of World War 1 and 2





                                       Modern day propganda                         WW 1 United Kingdom propaganda  





Do I need to comment?



Propaganda stems from Latin meaning -  "that which ought to be spread".


Through out his career AM Cassandre's posters evolved to become a part of the machine in the industrial marketing world pushing the envelope in terms of style and structure.  As Cassandre, evolved as an artist he would design many posters ranging from manufacturing, shiping lines, railways, shops, news papers and industrial companies.  All of his work takes a departure from realism. The idea was that people in trains and cars were able to see and grasp the idea of the poster. This became one part of the marketing strategy which relied on repitition to commnicate to the public and is still used to day in terms of bill board and posters on the sides of busses etc.


I sappose copying is a form of flatery,  his poster designs would inspire and be imitated by fellow artists such as Jaccques Nathan - Garamond's "Mazda Plantina" which is a direct influence by Cassandre's 1935 "Nicolas" not just in lay out but colours and type design as well.


"Mazda Plantina"     "Nicolas"


From 1929-1932  A.M. Cassandre was assisted on many occasions by Swiss deigner Herbert Matter the pair desiged several posters in that time period including.




Typography World


His love of letters helped him grow and move on to become a major influence on type design in France moving on to create several new type faces which are still used to this day. In 1923 he paired up with Deberny & Peignot who where the directors of the very famous and very succesful self titled type foundry, together they developed new type faces. Their business partnership would result in the most inovative type design in the 20th century.


In the time they spent together Cassandre and Charles Peignot would create six fonts; Bifur (1929), Acier ( 1930), Acier Noir (1936), Peignot(1937),Touraine(1947) and Cassandre(1968- which is interesting because that is the year that he killed himself)


His type design was mostly focused on capital letters, because he felt that lower case letters were inferior. The fonts Bifur and Peignot had been created to reflect the superior form of the capital letter. The two fonts had been created as capitial letter only fonts, Cassandre believed that it was easier for the printing press.


The Cassandre font (named after himself) is similar in style to that of the Yves Saint Laurent font the he had created about 5 years prior.




Fashion world


 Using one of his many type faces, in 1963 Cassandre desinged the Yves Saint Laurent logo. The lable and the logo have become world renoun and it is still used to this day. Making it arguably one of his biggest influences that impacts the world to this day.





From the period of 1936 to 1939 Cassandre lived in New York where he worked as a freelance commercial artist. Which is where he did the cover designs for the fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar.  In it's first incarnation the magazine first began pulication as a weekly magazine directed toward women in the middle and upper class part of society. It would show case fashion from Germany and Paris. In 1901 the magazine became a monthly magazine and remains so to this day.


Harper's Bazaar is owned and operated by the Hearst corporation and was purchesed in 1912. Harper & Brothers founded the magazine the company moved on to create Harper's Magazine and Harper Collins publishing.












for bio' s and other info of - AM Cassadre, Picasso, Braque, Cubism, Ecole des Beaux - Arts and Academie Julian, Harper's Bazaar, Alliance Graphique.



for images of - Picasso, Braque, Yves Saint Laurent logo, "Nicholos", "Mazda Plantina", Cubism Logos, Harper's Bazaar cover.


Harper's bazzar website

for link and refernece to magazine


Yves Saint Laurent website

for link and reference to logo and site



for info, bio and images link to the Dubonnet and Photo of AM Cassandre


A.M. Starmer PDF - "A.M. Casandre" for information on the fonts and an over view of his life.


Steven Heller (AIGA)

link to and excerpt from "Is there anything funny about Graphic Design?"





linkfor Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs



for the Aliiance Graphique



- Parisian Poster Art



- Propaganda Posters



for link art by Jaccques Nathan - Garamond




Comments (6)

Kirsten Larsen said

at 2:51 pm on Oct 5, 2009

I need help linking my page to other sites and pages....

johnny de courcy said

at 3:10 pm on Oct 6, 2009


Kirsten Larsen said

at 3:56 pm on Oct 9, 2009

I hope you enjoy this wiki and learn from it!!!

Blair said

at 10:20 pm on Oct 12, 2009


My guy, Herbert Matter assisted Cassandre. I have link to your page, maybe mention Matter as being influenced by working with Cassandre?

Marianela Ramos Capelo said

at 3:06 am on Oct 13, 2009

Strongly influenced by Constructivism and the Bauhaus movement, Cassandre used streamlined geometric patterns and bold colors to transform the things of everyday life such as wine, spirits, trains, phonograph records. Bauhaus is the specialty of my guy, Herbert Bayer...

Kirsten Larsen said

at 10:00 am on Oct 13, 2009

Oh yeah I forgot about that one thanks!!

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