Joseph Binder


Joseph BinderJoseph Binder (1898-1972) was an Austrian-born designer whose influence permeated Europe and the United States. He applied reductive compositional principles derived from Cubism and De Stijl to his posters, including the one he designed for the New York World’s Fair in 1939. He emigrated to the USA in 1934 and won many poster competitions, organized by the Museum of Modern Art, for such agencies as the National Defense, the United Nations and the American Red Cross. He also designed covers for Fortune and Graphis magazine. In 1948 Binder became art director for the U.S. Navy Department, and in the 1960's he returned to his primary passion of painting.


Poster for New York World's Fair 1939Joseph Binder was born in late-19th century Vienna. He trained as a lithographer and in 1922 entered the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts. As a student, his work won many awards, including his poster designs for the American Red Cross, for whom he was to work during his years in the United States. In 1924 he founded his own studio, Vienna Graphics, and acquired a reputation as an advertising artist and poster designer.


In 1927 he acted as one of the founding fathers of the national Austrian designers association, Design Austria, who continue to remember him through an international design competition, the Joseph Binder Award.


Between 1933 and 1935 he visited the United States as a guest lecturer at the Chicago Art Institute and the Minneapolis School of Art. His international status grew as he began to be represented in poster exhibitions in New York and Tokyo, and his designs were given first prizes in competitions organized by the Art Directors Club New York and the Museum of Modern Art. In 1936 Joseph Binder settled in New York for good and in 1944 became an American citizen.


Poster for Nivea CremeIn his design he focused on the reduction of geometric forms, on color contrasts and the psychological impact of colors. His clients included American Railroads, American Airlines, A&P Iced Coffee, Fortune and Graphis. In 1948 the U.S. Navy made him their art director and designer.


In the 1960’s Binder turned away from commercial graphic work and renewed his explorations in graphic works of art in the abstract style. His non-objective art was shown in international exhibitions such as in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museum of Applied Art (MAK) in Vienna.


Important designs:

1924     Musik- und Theaterfest, Vienna

1926     Rax-Bahn

1931     Arbeiter-Sport-Klub Österreichs for the 2nd Worker's Olympiad

1935     Nivea Creme, Vienna

1936     Opernball

1939     World Fair, New York

1948     Pax, United Nations

1952     Answer the call, American Red Cross

1955     Join the new era, US Navy



Stamp catalogue


Austria                                13 March 1998









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last revised: 27 February 2010