The greatest period of construction in American history was also marked by one of the greatest periods of graphic design. I’m speaking, of course, of the work that the Works Progress Administration did between 1935 to 1943, not only in expanding public infrastructure in America, but also designing kickass posters that got America excited about it. If we’re ever going to go to space and colonize other planets, that’s the kind of enthusiasm we’re going to need again.
No wonder the U.S. Government’s most design savvy branch, NASA, draws so much inspiration from the Works Progress Administration’s rich graphical history. Following the agency’s space tourism posters, NASA has just released Mars Explorers Wanted–a collection of WPA-inspired posters, meant to get people excited about colonizing Mars, not just visiting it.
The posters each portray NASA astronauts on the surface of the Red Planet performing a number of different heroic activities. Rappelling down cliffs! Exploring ancient Martian canyons! Vacuum welding a spaceship! Even growing space tomatoes! Each poster is also accompanied by a slogan that seems straight out of a copywriter’s handbook in Total Recall, like “Teach on Mars!” or “Mars Needs You!”
The posters were originally commissioned for the Kennedy Space Center in 2009. However, since NASA is a public agency, all of its artwork eventually gets released to taxpayers–so you can now download all of the posters in ultra-high resolution for free here.
All Images: NASAJB