8 Famous Wanted Poster Designs

Brian
August 16, 2012

Some of the most memorable images in criminal history are those of the original wanted posters offering rewards for the capture of our most notorious criminals.  When it comes to design, the vast majority of these posters were comparatively plain:  text, and perhaps an image of the alleged villain in question.  Wanted posters prove that you don’t need fancy graphics to get attention, just bold typography that the public can’t pass up.  Oh, and the enthralling story of a public enemy as a backdrop doesn’t hurt, either.  Let’s take a look at eight famous wanted poster designs.

1.  John Dillinger

Let’s put this in perspective:  in 1934, $10,000 would be worth approximately $170,000 in buying power today.

62013-050-6E7F487C.jpg (984×1600) - Google Chrome_2012-08-07_09-50-54

 

2.  Billy The Kid

You know the law isn’t playing games when they want you “dead or alive.”

Billy the Kid $5,000 Reward Wanted Poster - Google Chrome_2012-08-07_09-53-08

 

3.  Bonnie and Clyde

The most notorious criminal couple of the century finally got their due when they were ambushed on a back road.

Bonnie and Clyde Wanted Poster VINTAGE Movie Posters Celebrity Autographs _2012-08-07_09-54-26

 

4.  Baby Face Nelson

Purportedly involved in Dillinger’s famous wooden gun jail escape, Nelson was too crazy even for Public Enemy No. 1’s taste and the pair went their separate ways after Little Bohemia.

Baby Face Nelson 1934 FBI Wanted Poster - AmericanWestCollectibles - Google Chr_2012-08-07_09-57-41

 

5.  James Earl Ray

Ray was sought for robbery and civil rights violations the year before he fatally shot Martin Luther King, Jr.

Pageviewer - Google Chrome_2012-08-07_10-03-12

 

6.  John Wilkes Booth

OK, so $100,000 in 1865 would have the buying power of about $1.5 million today.

John_Wilkes_Booth_wanted_poster_new.jpg (1000×1805) - Google Chrome_2012-08-07_10-06-31

 

7.  D.B. Cooper

Perhaps the most famous poster featuring the work of a police sketch artist.

Recent image by DogByte6RER on Photobucket - Google Chrome_2012-08-07_10-12-27

 

8.  Jack The Ripper

Referred to here as the “Leather Apron,” this wanted poster services as public announcement for a criminal whose identity remains unknown to this day.

jack_the_ripper_wanted_poster.jpg (465×600) - Google Chrome_2012-08-07_10-13-36

 

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

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