After 82 years in business, Globe Poster has printed its last show poster. The Baltimore-based company—known for its eye-popping, day-glo designs—announced it was closing late last year, but co-owner Bob Cicero (above) got two jobs at the 11th hour: posters for the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival on the National Mall and Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors Festival. The Smithsonian job had already been completed, but the Lincoln Center posters were screenprinted yesterday afternoon.
With Lincoln Center Creative Director Martin Schott, Typecast Press’ Mary Mashburn, two MICA students, a pair of Globe employees, and a few invited guests on hand, Cicero fed sheets of poster board through the press, adding one color at a time: first yellow, then, orange, pink, and green. At one point, Cicero halted the proceedings to hand-mix the ink in a bucket. “I don’t want you to have some b.s. orange,” he told Schott. “I want you to have a poppin’ orange.” Schott looked pleased.
Like all of Globe’s classic work, the Lincoln Center poster was, indeed, poppin’. Designed by Cicero and Mashburn, it had the splashes of color, bold type, photos of various performers (including Mavis Staples, who appeared on Globe Posters back in the day), and a busy design bordering on the chaotic. Globe’s artwork will also be used on Lincoln Center’s website, the cover of its brochure, on signage around its campus, and on banners along Broadway.
“I never figured my work would be hanging in Manhattan,” said Cicero, with a smile. “In fact, when they first called, I didn’t believe it. I thought it was a joke. After I figured out they were serious, I wondered how our style would fit with what they do. It’s like opera and rock and roll, you know? But they really liked what we do.”
A native of Switzerland, Schott admitted to being fond of a cleaner, more minimalist design aesthetic. “This really pushed me out of my comfort zone,” he said. “But I love it. Their work is really amazing.”
He also noted that it’s a perfect fit for this year’s music series, which includes classic girl groups, the Bar-Kays, Steve Cropper (of Booker T. and the MG’s), and a tribute to southern producer/musician Jim Dickinson. “Because of Globe’s history of working with these groups, it brings it full circle,” said Schott. “In fact, Lincoln Center is honored to become part of that history.”
Schott lamented the fact that Globe was closing but was cheered to learn that the company’s collection of wood type and hand-carved wood blocks would be going to MICA, where Cicero will teach a printing class in the fall. “It will get passed on, and that’s great,” he said. “That’s very important, because today, most kids don’t know design beyond the mouse clicks. This takes it back to the basics.”
As the afternoon wore on and the job wound down, Cicero looked pensive. The past few years had been a struggle, full of economic challenges and health troubles (mostly for his brothers, Frank and Joe, Jr.). And his father, Joe, Sr.—who worked at Globe since 1934 and bought the company in the 1970s—passed away in 2008. “It’s bittersweet,” said Cicero, during a quick break. “I’m glad to be relieved of all the pressure, and I’m thrilled the Globe name and style will live on at MICA. But it’s really hard to see this all end.”
His eyes moistened. “I think about my father and all the people who worked here,” he said, “and I get a little choked up. They were all part of it, and they all believed in Globe.
“And I’m praying to God that when I die and go up—or maybe go down, I don’t know—and I see my dad, I hope he says, `Good job.’ That’s all I care about.”
Then, Cicero went back to the pressroom to run the final color.