One 1966 poster depicts a Black man with his hands on his hips, wearing a robe that is near-identical to that of the KKK. The hood is lifted to show his face, with shadowed eyes piercing into the camera lens. Below it, the viewer is urged to call the ‘BOSTON KLAN’ for a “discriminating design organisation”.
This is classic Archie Boston. Given the references to the KKK, it’s unquestionable how much unease this advert caused. Yet this was his intention, as it aligns with a philosophy he expressed in a lecture at the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography in October 2020: “First of all, I believe one has to get the attention of the viewer, whether it’s positive or negative. I always try to eventually turn a negative into a positive.” And in a Four Corners interview, Boston expresses that their intent was to be “provocative, memorable, daring and different.”
Released in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, the posters evoked events that were both traumatic and exclusive to the African American experience. They used this uncanny combination to their advantage, drawing attention to their work while igniting conversations about inclusivity in the design industry.