Friday, September 19, 2008

Kalman's Humor

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.

1 comment:

Anisa said...

I had to look at this twice before being able to understand it. Its a true concept.