A collage poster of 2 people leaning on a fence with blue red and white stripes in the background.
October 17, 2018

Poster House + The Library of Congress

Rating: G

Poster House + The Library of Congress Offer This Challenge….

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, the seeds of which were planted in 1800 by a Congressional act approved by President John Adams. After the fledgling library was lost when the British burned Washington during the War of 1812, Jefferson rescued the idea by selling his entire personal library to Congress in replacement. In fact it was Jefferson’s idea of universality that gave the Library its expansive collecting mission, and his firm belief in the importance of knowledge that shaped the Library’s philosophy of sharing its rich resources, which includes books, manuscripts, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps, and posters.


Left: National Ski Association by Herbert Bayer (1957)

Right: War Gardens Over the Top by Maginel Wright Barney (ca. 1919)

In that same spirit, this winter Poster House is partnering with The Library of Congress to showcase 31 important pieces from their poster collection in order to reach new audiences with an animation contest open to students, professionals, and amateurs alike. Participants will have access to free high-res images of posters via the Library’s “Free To Use and Reuse” collection that they can re-imagine as animations, bringing new life to these poignant historical vignettes.


Pâtes aux Oeufs et aux Légumes by Leonetto Cappiello (ca. 1901)

Working closely with a specialist of Prints & Photographs at the Library, the Poster House team curated a selection of posters from among the thousands digitized on the Library’s site. Each poster acts as a window onto global cultural events and trends between 1890 and 1970, and each takes on a new context now in 2018. Poster House and The Library of Congress want to know: How can you animate these posters to tease new meaning out of them? or illuminate an aspect of particular note? or make us laugh? or challenge one’s technical skills?


Left: Washington D.C./Braniff International Airways by an Unknown Artist (ca. 1960)

Right: Kellar by an Unknown Artist (ca. 1897)

We invite artists, students, and members of the general public to try their hand at this challenge. Poster House will be accepting submissions December 2018, and a panel of esteemed judges from the design, advertising, and poster communities will choose their 20 favorite animations in spring 2019. All applicants who follow the guidelines will receive 2 free tickets to the museum, and winners will be digitally displayed in Poster House’s exhibition window on 23rd Street in New York City as part of the lead up to the museum’s grand opening in summer 2019.

Winners will also receive:

– Their animations featured on Poster House’s various social media channels and website

– Their names in vinyl on the museum’s window, as well as full credit on all website, social, and e-blast promotions

– A year’s membership to the museum for two, valid from the date of opening


Lloyd J. Harriss Pies by an Unknown Artist (1947)

All photos c/o The Library of Congress.

The Fine Print

All submissions are due no later than December 31, 2018 at midnight, EST. Winners will be notified by early February, 2019.

Interested participants can find all of the images for the contest on The Library of Congress’s Free to Use & Reuse page under Poster Parade. Please click on your chosen image(s) and download the highest resolution offered (typically the TIFF file option in the drop down menu below the image). Then, go wild! We are seeking submissions without audio, and animations should only include the art as presented in the poster.

To support all intended uses and outlets for these animations, we require submissions to be emailed to us in all three of the following formats:

1. mp4 (without sound)

Resolution: 720p

Max File Size: 4MB

2. mp4 (exported with these specifications)

Resolution: 1080 x 1080 px

Max File Size: 10MB

Formats: H.264 codec/MP4

Frame Rate: 29.96 frames per second

Bit Rate: 3,500 kbps video bitrate

Audio codec: AAC audio codec at 44.1 kHz mono

Duration: 3 to 60 seconds

3. gif (original ratio)

Max Width: 1024px

Max File Size: 1MB

Submitting an entry to this competition will be considered an agreement to the following rules:

Submissions to this contest offer the usage and reproductions rights to Poster House for the purposes of juried selection, public display on its websites/social media, in its physical locations, for the purposes of advertisement, press releases and other marketing, for the entire period that those rights are retained limited to a period no longer than 3 years. For the independent-jury-selected Winning and Runners-up animations, Poster House will retain usage and reproduction rights to the work for three (3) years after the winning announcement. The submitting artist may during this time use the piece on their website and in their portfolio as an example of their work. Poster House will retain no rights for any submissions not selected by the Jury for winning or runners-up titles.

Poster House will credit each work’s creator in every location and any form in which it presents the piece. There will be no exchange or resale of the work by Poster House.

Submissions and Inquiries can be mailed to submissions@posterhouse.org