Ranger Doug’s Enterprises is a graphic production company that reproduces National Parks posters from the Works Progress Administration era, and designs new posters for parks in that same style. We recently helped them update a basic warehouse in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. Last week company founder Doug Leen and his team hosted an open house to celebrate the opening of their new world headquarters!
The WPA funded thousands of writers, musicians, and visual artists under the aegis of the Federal Arts Project. The “Fed One,” as it was known, included a poster division that produced more than 2 million posters from 35,000 original designs. The National Park poster program began in 1938, producing designs for 14 parks before being shuttered by the onset of World War II. Because posters were considered ephemera and commonly printed on cheap paper, only approximately 2,000 prints from an estimated 2 million WPA posters remain.
Doug Leen served as a seasonal ranger at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming; in 1971 he discovered a tattered poster for the park in a pile of rubbish–a small event that lead to a twenty-year search for additional designs in the National Park series. Since founding Ranger Doug Enterprises in 1993, Doug and co-artist Brian Maebius have created more than 40 original designs for parks in the style of the original WPA posters.
Today the company sells the original and new designs as posters, postcards, and stickers, which you can browse and purchase here: rangerdoug.com
Here Ranger Doug himself gives a tour of the new shipping and receiving area of the warehouse – nicely organized!
The “Wall of Color” displayed all the posters they make along with some photographs of Ranger Doug’s latest road trip across America.
Our colleague Ellen Mirro joined the party and had a tour of Doug’s much-traveled Airstream trailer with custom interior.