Timothy Snyder’s new book On Tyranny, offering a "chilling" comparison of present-day personality politics and the regimes of Hitler and Stalin, is going to be published by Vintage in its entirety across a row of posters in East London.
The poster installation on Leonard Street (London, EC2A) will run one for one week from 27th March as designed by Suzanne Dean, creative director at Vintage, and her team in collaboration with students from the Graphic Design course at Kingston University, as part of an ongoing artistic partnership with the university.
There are 28 posters in total, 20 of which represent individual chapters. Each of the chapters have been interpreted by a different designer to imbue every poster with its own "visual character". Claimed to be an industry first, the whole text of the book will be included in the poster installation. The text of each chapter has been incorporated as part of the design for its corresponding poster, with a single poster said to be large enough to cover the wall of an office.
Stuart Williams, publishing director at The Bodley Head, said the effect was "hugely inspiring" and William Smith, creative manager, said Vintage was "excited to make such a crucial book available to the public in this disruptive way".
"Every one of these posters is individually striking and their collective impact is going to turn heads and concentrate minds on Timothy Snyder’s indispensable book," added Williams.
Dean commented: "It was the sort of project that would benefit from different voices. It was an opportunity. I asked the head of Graphic Design at Kingston University, Rose Gridneff, if she might have students willing to get involved in this project. The students were briefed. The designers in-house were briefed. We each had a few days to complete our poster. For the Vintage design team we suddenly had a very different proposition in scale, from our usual book cover. When a poster was printed out, to actual size, it covered the wall of my office."
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, already a New York Times bestseller, published on 2nd March and is "an attempt to convert dark experience into enlightened resistance", according to Snyder, its author and Housum Professor of History at Yale University.
Snyder said of the poster installation: "Just as the text reaches back through the decades of the twentieth century, so too do these remarkable artists refer to the styles of the period, in their own way rendering homage as they communicate.
"To say that this is flattering to me would be inapt; I feel rather that the artists have joined me in understanding the urgency of the project of connecting the past to the present. The world is turning and we need to find our footing lest we be thrown; the history that can give us leverage is visual as well as textual, and in that sense as in others the posters are the book."