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Mid Century Eastern European Graphic Design

April 1, 2012 Leave a comment

I came across these rather wonderful images recently.

Taken from a new book with the rather clumsy title of “Iron Curtain Graphics“, they offer a selection of Propaganda, Safety at Work, Cultural and Educational themed posters and signs, that were all (as the books tagline reminds us) “created without computers”, somewhere in Romania and sometime between the 1950’s and 1970’s.

I think it’s fair to say that Communist Eastern Europe is usually thought of as a rather grey and austere place,  full of monotonous housing blocks, cheap fabrics, political repression and food shortages. Thankfully these striking images go some way to addressing these preconceptions, with their bold use of colour and form.

Working within very strict rules regarding what and how topics and messages could be illustrated, it is without doubt these very limitations that created such strong and powerful graphics.

To my eyes its testament to the (generally unknown) designers that these images are still so powerful… especially when taken out of the context of the Communist regimes hatred of such bourgeois concepts of irony and humour…

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