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Posters and Election Propaganda

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

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Posted by Steven Seidman at 1:30PM   |  Add a comment
Obama Logo, 2008 (www.barackobama.com)

In recent American elections, all parties have usually employed stylized designs that are often little more than giant corporate-type logos, devoid of photographic portraits and issues. Successful brand management for a candidate or a political party, as manifested in posters and other media, is characterized by simple visual imagery that is both powerful and appealing along with simple slogans and logos that resonate with the voters and their emotions.

The Obama campaign's logo is distinctive and designed to strike an emotional cord with his supporters. The Blue "O" stands for the candidate, and with the red stripes symbolizes the flag and patriotism. The red-and-white stripes further represent farmland, identifying the Illinois senator with the "heartland" of America. The white center of the "O," rising over the horizon of the stripes, appears to be a sunrise, denoting “a better tomorrow.” 


The Sun has been used in many election posters in a number of countries, including France, Germany, Great Britain, Iran, Italy, Japan, Poland, and Taiwan.

For example, a 1932 Republican poster in the U.S. election contest between Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt displayed a large cartoon of an elephant pushing a truck labeled “US & Co.” toward the rising sun, while the Democratic donkey was illustrated running away. A 1972 poster for Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern showed the sun breaking through the clouds, along with the slogan “A little light in a cold world.”

British Liberal posters in the latter part of the nineteenth century depicted past prosperity, when their party was in power, as rays of sunshine, in contrast to the gloomy economic situation under the Conservatives. A 1991 Solidarity poster featured a flower with the sun in its center, along with Solidarity's famous logo, symbolizing a new beginning and oneness with everyone and everything.


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