Poster, Iceman, 1977–79
This is a poster. It was designed by John Brown & Partners and the art director was Denny Strickland and made for (as the client) Nike, Inc.. It is dated 1977–79 and we acquired it in 1981. Its medium is offset lithograph on paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.
Nike was founded as Blue Ribbon Sports, an importer of Japanese running shoes, in 1964, but by the early 1970s began manufacturing its own goods and in 1978, officially changed its name to Nike. Image making was a key component of Nike marketing, which aimed to speak directly to athletes, rather than retailers or investors. In the late 1970s, Nike's then–advertising agency, John Brown & Partners, began developing so-called "personality posters," which captured the unique personalities of celebrity athletes by showcasing them in unusual settings and poses. "Iceman," featuring NBA scoring champion George Gervin, was one of the first such posters. Gervin's nickname, referencing his smooth on-court composure, is literalized as he sits on a throne of ice in a silvery-blue track suit labeled "ICE,” holding two icy-blue basketballs, on an icy court. The ad agency wanted consumers to see the "specialness" of each athlete, which the consumers were meant to also see in themselves. The signature Nike Swoosh, designed both to convey movement and be visible from afar, is seen on Gervin's shoes, as well as in the lower right of the poster, above large, block letters reading “ICEMAN,” driving the visual elements home in text.
It is credited
Gift of Various Donors.
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Its dimensions are
89.8 x 52 cm (35 3/8 x 20 1/2 in.)
It is inscribed
Printed in black ink, lower left: LITHO IN U. S. A.
Cite this object as
Poster, Iceman, 1977–79; Designed by John Brown & Partners ; USA; offset lithograph on paper; 89.8 x 52 cm (35 3/8 x 20 1/2 in.); Gift of Various Donors; 1981-29-203