Wednesday, 6 October 2010

woodstock poster - arnold skolnick

This is the only official poster for the 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair held near Bethel, New York state, U.S.A. The event was one of a kind. 500,000 people turned up to promote the idea of 'peace and love' by standing in a field, not engaging in conflict, and watching their favourite bands play. The design had to be synonymous with the theme of the festival so Skolnick kept a loose feel to the design which has hand drawn qualities. The imagery communicates everything needed. The dove = peace. The guitar = music. I would probably say that the image and text are too conflicting though. But nevertheless, the festival went on to be recognised as one of the most important musical events in history.

Design was not needed to create an impact here! However, it was still still very necessary to promote the event appropriately and as effectively as possible.


As for the print process. It was likely to have been done lithographically. There would have probably been anywhere between 500 and a couple of thousand posters (more likely closer to 500) printed so this makes it an appropriate process to have used back then. These days, posters advertising such events (Eg. Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds Festivals etc.) are likely to be printed digitally. In 1969, when Woodstock happened, digital printing would have not been invented yet. And if it had, it would have been in a very primitive stage.

An original second edition print of the poster was available here:

On this link is mentions how the process involved a 7 colour spot overlay in the lithographic process;

"The Woodstock poster is a color lithographic print on glossy heavy poster stock. This is an authorized second printing made the way the original Woodstock poster was made, using seven color, hand-cut ruby overlays."

Official poster for the 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair

Be seeing you!

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