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Posters and Election Propaganda

A blog dedicated to the examination of communications in election campaigns, with a focus on posters

Posted by Steven Seidman at 8:13PM   |  2 comments
Campaign Poster for William McKinley, ca. 1896-1900. (Library of Congress)


Which are the two best posters from U.S. presidential election campaigns (excluding ones for the primaries)?

My criteria: artfulness, effective messaging, and overall design.


Here are my selections:

1. Unknown Artist, Poster of Republican William McKinley, holding a U.S. flag and standing on a gold coin (symbolizing "sound money"), held up by group of men, in front of ships (for "commerce") and factories (for "civilization"), ca. 1896-1900. This beautiful color lithograph targeted both businessmen and laborers, as well as associating the candidate with both symbols of patriotism and fiscal soundness. In the background, the Sun rises, with its rays enhancing the positiveness of the message.

2. Rafael López, "Estamos Unidos" ("We are United"), Poster for Artists for Obama, 2012. This gorgeous poster features a layered oil painting, with the candidate gazing thoughtfully into the distance and shown from below (a common pose, which makes him seem more imposing), and a simple slogan and colors to appeal to Latino voters.


Of course, there are many other worthy designs. See 56 others by clicking here. What are your favorites? And which posters should be added?

 

 


Posted by Steven Seidman at 10:10AM   |  Add a comment
British Conservative Party Poster, 1909/1910

Posters (actually broadsides, initially) have been displayed in Great Britain since the late 1600s. They became indispensable during election periods in Great Britain in the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when many more people were enfranchised, especially after the Labour Party was established in 1906.

The BBC has assembled a group of posters, shown to "illustrate David Lloyd George's political fame ad notoriety," put together on the 150th anniversary of George's birth. The posters range from 1910 to 1929—a period when posters were the paramount medium of political propaganda, and when they were often highly imaginative and printed in eye-catching colors from lithographic stones. Click here to see the posters.

George's Liberal Party regained power in 1906. The Liberals "rebranded" their party as one that was more in favor of social reform, and "New Liberals" such as George advocated for legislation to protect and help children, workers, and the unemployed.

George was Prime Minister between 1916 and 1922, which included his leading a coalition government during World War I, followed by his becoming the Leader of the Liberal Party in 1926, a post he held until 1931.

 


Posted by Steven Seidman at 7:39AM   |  1 comment
David Garcia, "Change" (2012)


Design for Obama
—a Web site started in 2008 to promote Barack Obama's campaign for the U.S. presidency—is up again. 

The site was created "as a dorm-room experiment to create a space for artists to function as artists in the political process and help elect Barack Obama," according to the creators.

Many of the 2008 posters are included in a book, Design for Obama: Posters for Change: A Grassroots Anthology," written by Steven Heller, and edited by Aaron Perry-Zucker and Spike Lee.

Dozens of high-resolution posters (one of which can be seen to the right) have been contributed, to be printed and displayed at rallies and anywhere that people want to show support for Obama. Gallery shows will follow.


Posted by Steven Seidman at 8:43AM   |  Add a comment
Rafael López, Poster for Artists for Obama, 2012


In 2008, Rafael López created a powerful poster for the Barack Obama for President campaign. His poster, "Voz Unida" ("United Voice"), was one of ten posters designed for the campaign's Artists for Obama series. The 1000 prints of López's poster sold for $60 each. Some of the other artists in the series were Robert Indiana, Shepard Fairey, Scott Hansen, and Lou Stoval. The style of "Voz Unida"—showing a blue-tinted Obama surrounded by red, yellow, brown, and orange tones—was calculated to appeal to Latino voters, among others.

This year, López designed a new poster, "Estamos Unidos" ("We are United") (seen at the right). He was inspired to do so, he said, because of President Obama's support for "early education programs for children" and because he "has doubled Pell Grants so working families can afford college." Also, according to López, Obama's "bold actions to fix the broken immigration system and support of the Dream Act prove he is on our side." The poster is characterized by the same "visionary" gaze that was evident in the 2008 poster, with the same background colors.

The evolution of the painting of "Estamos Unidos" can be seen at López's Web site.

The new poster will soon be available for purchase at the Obama for America Store.

 


Posted by Steven Seidman at 10:01AM   |  Add a comment
Tuxedo Party Poster, Halifax, Canada, 2012



Poster for Tuxedo Stan, a cat running as a write-in candidate for Mayor of Halifax, Canada, under the banner of the Tuxedo Party. According to its Facebook page, "The Tuxedo Party is a political movement aimed to improve the welfare of felines in HRM [Halifax Regional Municipality] 'because neglect isn't working'." Click here for more on the campaign.

The Tuxedo Party's Facebook page has more than 4,800 "Likes" as of today.

 

 


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