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CSU's renowned international poster exhibit is a visual and cyberspace experience

September 7, 2011

Patty Rettig, head archivist at Morgan Library.Every two years, the works of top international poster artists and designers are featured at CSU at the Colorado International Invitational Poster Exhibition, the only exhibit of its kind in the United States. This year’s exhibit, which runs Sept. 16-Oct. 14, will continue the tradition of featuring the visual ingenuity and aesthetics of artists from around the world.

The exhibition of the actual posters at the University, however, is just a part of the effort to showcase the medium and its viability in the digital age.

“A decision was made in 1991 that, since CIIPE was such a great show, University Libraries should preserve the original posters and make digital images of them available online as well,” says Patty Rettig, head archivist. More than 2,000 posters in the library’s collection reflect changing trends in graphic design and provide a wealth of perspectives in the social, cultural, and political arenas.

Digital records

Through an agreement in 1991 with CSU’s Department of Art, the library’s International Poster Collection was established to house second-copy posters received from CIIPE artists. The site, which displays posters from around the world, features a searchable database of posters from the 7th to 16th shows (1991-2009) and an artist database of biographical information.

The work of artists from more than 40 countries as widespread as the United States, Colombia, Zimbabwe, Hungary, and Japan has been digitized and housed on the Archives and Special Collections website.

For each biennial exhibition, artists are asked to submit two copies of up to two posters. One copy of the poster is exhibited and sold, while the other copy, which is non-circulating, is added to the International Poster Collection.

“Morgan Library created the first digital repository of an international poster exhibition,” Rettig says. “We get questions and requests about the posters from all over the world.”

While poster images from 1995 and later exhibitions are available for viewing without restriction, those from the 1991 and 1993 exhibitions are restricted to CSU users due to artist agreements for those years.

More information 


The present site, which was released September 2007, is a redesign of the previous site which was available from September 2001 to August 2007. The redesign was done by Greg Vogl from Academic Computing and Networking Services and Larry Wilson, a student in Computer Information Systems,with feedback from Rettig and Dennis Ogg, assistant coordinator at Morgan Library.

The first CIIPE was organized in 1979 by CSU’s highly regarded graphic design unit in the art department.