Sunday, January 17, 2010

Posters as Politics

I have frequently mentioned the posters that appear on the streets here in Roma and throughout Italy. Though some of them do advertise films or products most are the work of political parties or interest groups. Often they are turned out in response to a particular event or anniversary and though elections are still several years away, no political party worth its salt would pass up the opportunity to keep their image before the public.

This Sunday's New York Times has an interesting article on the Political Poster here in Europe, its effectiveness and more specifically its use by the political right to get its message across. It definitely worth a read and though it concerns mainly Switzerland it also applies very much to what appears on the street here.

Three examples of posters that have appeared on the streets - two with a very right wing message, the third with a message of tolerance. All very powerful.

Alexander Segert, the creator of a controversial Swiss poster and main focus of the article, makes an interesting point that should be taken to heart by many groups including a few that I support whole-heartedly.
Clients must “do their homework,” Mr. Segert said, by way of explaining how a design evolves. “It sounds easy, but most political parties don’t know their own message.” That’s the problem for centrist and many left-leaning parties.

Though the article is a bit condescending in its attitude to the North American response to political posters I have to admit that here in Europe the Poster is taken seriously as a weapon in the arsenal of politics.

17 gennaio - Sant'Antonio abate


Elizabeth said...

Fascinating! I'll definitely read the article!

The Shepherd Fairey poster of Obama was a really brilliant campaign tool, but most others I've seen are fairly muddled. Saw one recently that compared Pittsburgh's mayor to Stalin, which is, of course, just utterly ridiculous, so it made them and their cause just look stupid.


americans can't spell well enough to do good political posters..