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A 'poster' is any large piece of paper which hangs from a wall or other such surface. They are a frequent tool of advertisers, propagandists, protestors and other groups trying to communicate a message, and they also see personal use by people, especially the young, who wish to decorate in a relatively low-cost manner.

Text posters

Purely text posters have a long history: they advertised the plays of Shakespeare and made citizens aware of government proclamations for centuries.

Graphical posters

The great revolution in posters was the development of colour lithography which allowed the cheap printing of posters illustrated in vibrant colors. The concept was first developed in France but by the 1890s had spread throughout Europe. A number of noted artists created poster art in this period, foremost amongst them Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Jules Chéret.
Many posters have had great artistic merit and have become extremely collectible. These include the posters advertising World's Fairs and Colonial Exhibitions.
Other times of great turmoil also produced great posters. The 1960s saw the rise of pop art and protest movements throughout the West; both made great use of posters. Perhaps the most acclaimed posters were those produced by French students during the so-called "événements" of May 1968.

Propaganda posters

During the First and Second World Wars, recruiting posters became extremely common, and many of them have persisted in the national consciousness, such as the "Uncle Sam Wants You" posters from the United States, or the "Loose Lips Sink Ships" posters that warned of foreign spies.

Cheesecake posters

The popularity of Pin-up girl posters has been erratic in recent decades. Pin-ups such as Betty Grable and Jane Russell were highly popular with soldiers during World War II but much less so during the Vietnam War. The late 1970s and into the beginning of the 1980s were boom years for large posters of television actresses, especially Farrah Fawcett and Cheryl Tiegs.

Film posters

The film industry quickly discovered that vibrantly coloured posters were an easy way to sell their pictures. The collection of movie posters has become a major hobby.

Comic book posters

The resurgence of comic book popularity in the 1960s led to the mass production of comic book posters in the 1970s and onward. These posters typically feature popular characters in a variety of action poses. The fact that comic books are a niche market means that a given poster usually has a smaller printing run than other genres of poster. Therefore, older posters may be quite sought after by collectors. Promotional posters are usually distributed folded, whereas retail posters intended for home decoration are rolled.

Affirmation posters

There is a popular series of posters, each having a black background, a scene from nature, and a word like "Leadership" or "Opportunity." One version (usually framed and matted) uses a two-image hologram which changes as the viewer walks past.

Research posters and "poster sessions"

Posters are used in academia to promote and explain research work []. They are typically shown during conferences, either as a complement to a talk or scientific paper, or as a publication. They are reputed to be of lesser importance than actual articles. But they can be a good introduction to a new piece of research before the paper is published. Always be careful of copyright implications.

Fan poster

The goal of creating a Fanposter is to show all or a large portion of devoted fans on one poster which will be presented and can be seen in a place where many other fans or members have access (hallway of a club house, fanzine, fan webpage, public place).

Classroom posters

Most classrooms in North American schools have posters on the walls. There are several types of these posters:
*Motivational posters, similar to those found in offices or specific to the class subject matter.
*Quick reference posters: In elementary schools, these usually include first-language vocabulary charts (numbers, colours, weather, etc.) and multiplication tables. In secondary and post-secondary schools, they are more likely to include second-language vocabulary charts, the standard periodic table and related graphs, and laboratory safety protocols. A world map and one or more regional maps are common at all levels.
*Advertising posters for products used or discussed in the class (e.g. movie posters in a film class).
*Pseudo-advertising posters for sports, works of classic literature, etc.
*Posters giving more detailed information on a subject, usually containing paragraph-form text, in relatively small print.
The latter two types are sometimes prepared by students as part of an assignment, but most posters are usually store-bought.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Poster".