Nowadays, virtually every image we see promoting a national park is a high-resolution photograph of some stunning vista, flora, fauna, or outdoor adventure. In years past, though, graphic posters enticed Americans to visit their grandest public spaces—an appeal that’s artfully replicated in the new Illustrated Guide to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The book comes courtesy of the Nashville, Tennessee-based Anderson Design Group, an avid promoter of nostalgia for historic graphic arts. The firm’s founder, Joel Anderson, says the objective was to produce “poster art rendered in the tradition of the classic Works Projects Administration prints from the 1930s.”
The 40 original illustrations showcasing scenes and activities in the park—which is the nation’s most visited—take center stage but are supplemented with tips, trivia, history, and maps, making the volume both a coffee-table book and a practical guide. UNC Asheville history professor Dan Pierce, who authored much of the text, writes in the intro that he hopes “this book will encourage readers to visit this regional, national, and global treasure more, to explore it to the fullest extent of their physical ability, and to commit to its preservation for future generations.”