In my ongoing paean to the activities and work of politically engaged artists, I’d be remiss to omit posters from an illiterate age that required graphics as hortative as the text they illustrated.
During the Spanish Revolution (or Spanish Civil War) of 1936-1939, Spanish illiteracy was at 45%, and 70% of the population were peasants. Unlike today’s wars of choice, everyone had to be involved, so a proliferation of posters and lyric poems, holdovers from an oral poetic tradition, spoke to the people on all sides of the conflict.
Today, advertising has conditioned us to depend on the image, often to the calculated exclusion of the words—think of the small financing print in a car commercial or the 2-point font “credits are unlikely to transfer” in a technical college ad. Even full-size text in marketing material is rife with typos; I recently drove behind a pizza truck that informed me it was delivering for a “Food Service Distributor Suppling Pizzerias and Restaurants.”
To a war-torn society devolving into aliteracy, I (re)introduce the propaganda poster as a weekly series on Olive Green.
SIMILAR RESOURCES (continually updated)