Posters have been in existence for more than 200 years and been used effectively to advertise, propagate political propaganda, motivate or announce events. It ranged from entertainment to railways to sports election campaigns.
The motivational factor of posters is very interesting and has been used particularly during wars.
We look at some of the famous posters which were used for political ends during times of turmoil or as a promotional vehicle during hard times.
Keep Calm and Carry On
This poster was produced by the British government in 1939 at the start of the Second World War.
It is designed by the British Ministry of Information during the period of June 27 to July 6, 1939.
The Tudor Crown on top was followed by the words underneath – KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. It was meant to raise the morale of the British public during a time in the war when air raids were imminent.
It was a sort of message which underlined the British ‘stiff upper lip” attitude. The purpose was to appeal to the people to stay calm during adversity, maintain self-discipline and fortitude which were a very British trait.
In 1939, 2.45 million copies were printed and although the blitz did in fact take place.
These posters were not sanctioned for immediate public display in 1939. It was hardly ever publically displayed after that and was little known until a copy was rediscovered in 2000 at a bookshop in Alnwick.
Rosie The Riveter – We Can Do it!
This iconic poster symbolised what American women stood for and how they worked in factories to contribute to the nation during the Second World War.
American graphic designer J. Howard Millers’s Rosie the Rivester was designed to boost morale in during the war.
This poster is still used today and has been remodelled for use on everything -from modern feminist texts to tattoos.
The poster made the cover of the Smithsonian magazine in 1994 and was fashioned into a US first class mail stamp in 1999.
It was incorporated with campaign material by several American politicians in 2008. It was reworked by an artist in 2010 to celebrate the first women becoming prime minister of Australia Julia Gillard. This poster is one of the 10 most requested images at the National Archives and Records in the US.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s in US, the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration established a project with hopes of stimulating the economy by creating work for people including artists.
One of the best products of this endeavour was a series of prints designed by graphic artists, promoting tourism to the United States national parks.
The Barack Obama Hope poster was used by the former presidnrt with great success in 2008.
Designed by artist Shepard Fairey, a picture of Obama is seen above the word Hope.
The stylised stencil portrait of Obama is in solid red, beige, light and dark blue.
Given the recession sparked by the financial crisis, this poster captured the imagination of the Americans as they sought someone to lead them into better days.
The design was created in one day and printed first as poster.The image became one of the most widely recognised symbols of Obama’s campaign message, spawning many variations and imitations, including some commissioned by the Obama campaign.
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