This poster by Tibor Kalman for the 1986 AIGA Humor Show works with the image of mistaken printing. The design includes Kalman’s notes—a date and job number, test strip, a reference to the crop marks (useless in a poster that has printed so poorly), and a note to “Micheal” about how important it is that this job be done right. Rather than seeing a slickly finished product we see the back-side of design, the process, and the things that can go wrong. The banana peel is an obvious but effective image to convey the humor of a mistake. “Ops! I slipped and fell.” Or, “Ops! This printed wrong.” While a misprint ad (especially when dealing with a close deadline) and falling down are not necessarily funny, what both instances have in common with humor is a subversion of expectation. Neurologically, funniness is an idea taking an unexpected turn in your head—perhaps a short cut or maybe a scenic route. Humor creates a degree of surprise, a sense of “Oh!” or maybe even “Uh-oh!”
Humor Poster by Tibor Kalman, 1986.
Ed. Hall, P. & Bierut, M.: Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist, Princeton Architectural press, 1998, p37.