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Object Timeline

1978

  • Work on this object began.

1981

  • We acquired this object.

2014

2015

2016

2020

  • You found it!

Poster, Iceman, 1978

This is a Poster. It was overseen (as art director) by Denny Strickland and made for (as the client) Nike, Inc. (Beaverton, Oregon). It is dated 1978 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.

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, 1978; Art Director: Denny Strickland (American); 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

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

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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=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18617487/ |title=Poster, Iceman, 1978 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=1 June 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>