Geoff Kaplan: Power to the People: The Graphic Design of the Radical Press and the Rise of the Counter-Culture, 1964-1974

Power to the People: The Graphic Design of the Radical Press and the Rise of the Counter-Culture, 1964-1974
University of Chicago Press, 2013
Hardcover, 264 pages, $45

Though we think of the 1960s and the early '70s as a time of radical social, cultural, and political upheaval, we tend to picture the action as happening on campuses and in the streets. Yet the rise of the underground newspaper was equally daring and original. Thanks to advances in cheap offset printing, groups involved in antiwar, civil rights, and other social liberation issues began to spread their messages through provocatively designed newspapers and broadsheets. This vibrant new media was essential to the counterculture revolution as a whole, helping to motivate the masses and proliferate ideas.

This book is assembled by the renowned graphic designer and CCA Design faculty member Geoff Kaplan of General Working Group. It presents more than 700 full-color images and excerpts from these publications, many of which have not been seen since they were first published almost 50 years ago.

From the psychedelic pages of the Oracle, Haight-Ashbury's paper of choice, to the fiery editorials of the Black Panther Party Paper, these papers were remarkable for their editors' fervent belief in freedom of expression and their DIY philosophy. They were also extraordinary for their graphic innovations. Experimental typography and wildly inventive layouts reflect an alternative media culture as much informed by the space age, television, and socialism as it was by the great trinity of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.