I wanted to write a blog post about elections and election posters without resorting to mentioning Trump and some recently leaked video about what Amy Schumer calls ‘lady parts’. (Well, I think both Trump and Ms. Schumer are more precise, but I’m a little old fashioned … still…) And today, October 16, 2016, just a few days after Bob Dylan was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature (?!), I happened to find this great –Milton Glaser/Dylan-inspired Bernie Sanders 2016 poster. Poster Karma!
Many articles, books and blogs have discussed the power of persuasion that political posters have – and have always had – on public opinion. Here at L’Affichiste when we show posters by Alphonse Willette, we mention that he was often referred to as one of France’s secret weapons in the propaganda war that accompanied WWI.
I prefer our Journée du Poilu to the 2016 anti-Clinton poster on the right. For me, a solid propaganda poster needs to have a clear message: Journée du Poilu = home, hearth, romance. I’m not entirely sure what The Teflon Con means…
Great political poster artists have to be able – like all poster artists – to not only grab and keep your attention, but to impart a message that is memorable. Whether it’s the anti-Facism de Gaulle poster (below left) or the WWI Canadian bond poster (below right) each work managed to imprint itself on the viewer’s visual memory (this at a time before leaked videos …)
Certain poster images have become unforgettable talismans of long-forgotten wars fought in far-off lands. As the Imperial War Museum has written about the Remember Belgium poster (bottom right)
“Ellsworth Young was responsible for one of the best-known American posters of the First World War. Taking a title which first appeared in two British recruiting posters, Remember Belgium, the artist uses the alleged atrocities committed by Germans in 1914 to generate sympathy for the Belgians and thereby encourage Americans to invest in war savings. Young did his design in 1918, but little else is known about the artist. The US war loan schemes were very successful, and by the end of the First World War millions of such posters had been produced, many using the Statue of Liberty (which became the Liberty Loan logo, designed by Adolph Treidler) or Uncle Sam as a motif. Such campaigns were even more effective than those launched in Germany (Joseph Pennell’s design of New York in flames, created for the Fourth Liberty Loan, was particularly successful). The message of Young’s Remember Belgium is simple, and its image clear and horrifying. Interesting is the resemblance between the German soldier and Otto Von Bismarck, whose appearance the artist would have known from illustrations. Also interesting is the large amount of plain green background (actually composed of green and blue, with small orange flecks), and the use of diagonals, indicating how effective Ellsworth Young was as a designer.”
As for me, I must say that I’ve found watching the US election to be an exhausting and rather unpleasant experience. Or as this Bernie Sanders (pseudo) campaign poster puts it…