Kees van der Laan
Offsetdruk Kuhn & Zn, printer
Graf-Spee Landing, 1932

H. 44 x W. 32 in.

This commanding poster served as a public announcement for the June 18, 1932, arrival of the great zeppelin Graf-Spee at Walhaven-en-Twente in The Netherlands. The two lower sections of the poster were reserved for additional write-in copy, noting the anticipated time of the airship’s mooring. Kees Van der Laan, no less than the great posterist A. M. Cassandre, was able to capture the immense scale of the zeppelin by extending its image beyond the poster edge rather then centering it. As a compelling graphic image, it is quite equal to the task of heralding the arrival of what must have been an awesome sight in its day.

As with the Adler poster by Lucien Bernhard, it does feature an image—an exception to the works selected for this survey—but it is almost secondary to the "shouting" typographical announcement, LANDING. In the composition, Van der Laan established a pattern of repeated horizontal bars, each running from side to side. The format runs counter to conventional compositional layout of the period yet proves to be an extremely effective graphic device.