The excellent poster hack turning the ad into a Photoshop palette, above, by Mr. Tailon, Baveux Prod., Kone & Epoxy in Berlin has been getting a lot of play in recent days, and rightly so. Seeing it reminded me of the transformative power that a good poster/advertising hack holds, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to run-down what I consider to be the best poster hacks done in recent years. Disclaimer: this is a small and unique subset of poster/billboard hacks, where the original print/poster isn’t physically remixed or manipulated – for those hacks, the true masters are CutUp Collective and to a lesser extent, Billboard Liberation Front, and Poster Boy among others. But there’s something wonderfully simple and direct about paste-ups and stickers that transform the commercial vehicle of the advertisement, so strap in:

1. Photoshop Palette (by FTW Crew: Mr. Tailon, Baveux Prod., Kone & Epoxy)


More can be found here, and on each of the artist’s flickr sets:

2. Pop-Down Project (by F!L___)

“On the Internet, getting rid of unsolicited pop-ups is pretty easy. In real life, things are a tad more complicated. The Pop-Down Project aims at symbolically restoring everyone’s right to non-exposure: Just stick a “Close window” button on any public space pollution.” – Pop-Down Project



3. Citation Needed (numerous)

A superb hack drawing from Wikipedia culture and commenting on the boastful yet unqualified credentials ads attribute to themselves.



4. Docteur Gecko’s lightbox poster hacks

An old one, but a classic. Docteur Gecko‘s lightbox hacks, in which he slips an alternate transparency behind the advert – by day, normal advert. By night, when the lamps beneath turn on…



5. The Bubble Project (Ji Lee)

Ji Lee’s Bubble Project needs no introduction, but certainly deserves a place on this list. It was an honour to work with him on this in Amsterdam.



6. Image Missing (unknown)

Another classic playing with the absence of an image in the city’s visual landscape while referencing old school web icons.


8 thoughts on “Best Advertising Poster Hacks

  1. This is great – really nice to see a bunch of different people’s work collected in one post, and nice commentary too. I am always reading your posts on my RSS feed – I always enjoy them but I don’t always comment. Keep up the good work!

  2. i really don’t understand how you can group cutup with posterboy (in your introduction). Yes, they both work with posters on the street but that is where the relation ends. Cutup have a meaningful and intellectually rigorous approach to their work whereas posterboy does not appear to have this depth.

    When will we have some serious criticism of ‘street art’? If the scene pupports to be an art movement and can be happy with a show at the tate modern – then surely a discussion of what is good and what is bad and why should follow. A dialogue is important for the development of this work.

  3. @reel 2: Thanks for your comment. I never meant to group CutUp and Posterboy into the same intellectual grouping with their work – I was only referencing their chosen source material as the thread that bound them, as with all referenced in this post. I’ve followed CutUp for years, know them personally, and have the highest respect and admiration for their work, their intellect, and their integrity. I agree with you, and CutUp remains in a league of their own; no offense intended.

    I also agree that there is a need for a critical dialogue on ‘street art’. The only problem is that, in most cases, those who step forward to create a critical dialogue are in fact art critics. While it may seem ironic for me to say this, considering that I’ve directed, curated for and worked with a number of galleries in my career, I don’t think art critics are necessarily the ones to lead the dialogue. One of the inspirations for all the shows I’ve done and projects like Urban Play in Amsterdam is to be part of the dialogue from a “visual report out” perspective. But more is needed from other areas, I very much agree. Thanks.

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