Making a poster for a lost pet is one of the saddest design projects there is. But as Canadian artist Ian Phillips reveals in Lost: Lost and Found Pet Posters from Around the World, many of these posters end up as moving artistic homages to our animals. “The posters are like little mystery stories,” Philips writes in an email. “They’re quickly made and filled with so many emotions.”
In the 1990s, after helping his roommate find her lost cat, Philips became obsessed with finding and collecting missing pet posters–he sent out an open call for people around the world to send them to him, to be compiled in a zine circulated among his art-world friends. His collection, now published in a book, comes from six continents, harvested from telephone poles, car windshields, and bulletin boards. (Phillips instructed submitters to make photocopies of the posters they sent and to hang up more than they took down.)
Covered in scrawly handwriting, children’s illustrations, and bold, desperate-looking type, the posters are a reminder of the beauty of amateur graphic design. “My favorite ones are done without the use of a computer,” Phillips, an editorial and commercial illustrator, says. The written parts of the posters are absurd little pieces of found poetry: “Half Siamese, half normal,” “Likes to scratch children,” “actual photo” underneath a drawing of a cat. Among the missing pets are a rat named Poison, an “old and toothless orange Persian with a Dandriff problem [sic]” named Norman, a bird named Birdy, and a tiara-wearing pug named Linda. “I think the posters are as much about the pet owner as they are about the missing loved one,” Philips says.
Lost is available from Princeton Architectural Press here for $17.
[via the Guardian]