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What is this?

Black and white poster composed of white sans serif font spelling the words "Light" and "Years" which are superimposed to create a flickering image. Produced for the Architectural League's Beaux Arts Ball, March 13, 1999.

Why is this in our collection?

While sketching ideas for a poster to announce the annual Beaux Arts Ball at the Architectural League of New York in 1999, graphic designer Michael Bierut realized that the words in that year’s theme, “Light Years,” had five letters each. He thought to overlay them. Nicole Trice, then an intern at Pentagram —an international design firm where Bierut has been a partner since 1990 — mixed Bierut’s simple concept with digital effects. Using Photoshop to create a solution implying light, shadow, and transparency, her collaboration with Bierut produced an image rich with implied temporality. Overlapping the two words in a white font —Interstate designed by Tobias Frere-Jones —created a luminescent effect that seems to flit across the black background the way film titles energetically come to life from old movie projectors. The poster even played a supporting role in Steven Soderbergh’s film Side Effects (2012), which was partially shot in the New York offices of Pentagram.

This is a poster from United States. It is dated 1999 and we acquired it in 2007. Gift of Michael Bierut.

This image is on display This object is currently on display in room 107 as part of How Posters Work.

Its medium is

offset lithograph on white wove paper

Its dimensions are

59.7 x 97.8 cm (23 1/2 x 38 1/2 in.)

This object was designed by Michael Bierut and made for (as the client) Architectural League of New York

This object was donated by Michael Bierut

A timeline of event horizons

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Poster, LIGHT/YEARS, 1999 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=2 August 2015 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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