Monday, May 10, 2010

1940's War posters - Pam

The widespread distribution of World War 2 posters in the 1940’s was an effective communication tool used by the American government to inform the general public and encourage citizens to support the war efforts. Designs were submitted by graphic arts, commercial artist, magazine illustrators and advertising agents promoting various types of messages for army recruitment, war and liberty bonds, volunteering, recruitment targeted both men and women. All of which conveyed a message through emotional illustrations and memorable phrases of text. In 1930 silk screen techniques were established which simplified the serial production of poster images. The general public were able to make there own posters creating a democratic appeal to distribute to as many places in which the media could not reach. Government artists promoted a handbook called "How to Make and Reproduce Posters an activity which would declare that anyone could make a poster.

Each poster relied on the basic design principles of composition, typography and colour (even though the colour palettes were limited due to the availability of printing technology at that time).

The message was short and concise with high visual impact.

Posters delivered messages that were sometimes funny though many were patriotic. One of the most famous posters extensively used during World War 2 in many different ways was of Uncle Sam (I want you for U.S army poster). The poster was created by James Montgomery Flagg, who was an illustrator, portrait painter and best known for his commercial art. This recruitment poster image sported patriotic colours and appeared in newspapers and magazines.

Many posters were aimed towards women to assist with hospital care, volunteering in the Red Cross through to stepping in to fill the roles left behind in factories as the men went off to fight the war.

Another familiar poster was of “Rosie the Riveter”. This patriotic image of a woman dressed in overalls and bandanna encouraged women to partake in the

war. The image suggests women were capable of filling the traditional roles working on farms and in factories.

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