BJ Peace Poster – London 1969
The original client for the Peace Poster was New York’s Vietnam Peace Moratorium Campaign, and the commission was orchestrated by BJ’s longtime friend and graphics printer Dick Davison in November 1969. As a supporter of the campaign Davison asked several of the city’s top designers to create a poster reflecting the political consciousness of the Vietnam era. Among them were Tony Palladino, David Enock, Stanley Eisenman and Ivan Chermayeff. Davison was delighted by BJ’s design, believing it to be ‘by far and away the best one.’
BJ’s Peace Poster is a masterpiece of graphic restraint. Using the minimum of materials arranged in the sparest of fashions, it not only communicates a simple direct message, but also hints at a host of alternative interpretations and subplots.
The Peace Poster is built from four elements: The Ace of Spades; it’s hand-scrawled surround; BJ’s more adeptly written monogram; and an extravagant quantity of white space. Each of these ingredients is arranged in perfect proportion with all the others. The generous border framing the playing card lends drama. The similarity of scale between the letters ‘PE’ and the decorative Spade at the center of the Ace promotes the instant apprehension of the word ‘peace’. The contrast between the shaky uncertainty of the lettering on the poster and the confident designerly hand of Brownjohn’s ‘Love – Bj’ casts an air of ambiguity over the entire composition.
It was entered along with the others for several awards and won the prize for the best one.
The Ace of Spades is universally recognized as the death card and by including it in his poster it was BJ’s intention to question if death is the ultimate peace?
The Peace Poster was the last work that BJ completed before his death in 1970.
BJ Peace Poster posthumous edition – London 1972
BJ Peace Poster second edition booklet – London 1972