Support! Vote! Strike!

The nineteenth century

During the nineteenth century commercial and cultural principals rarely used posters for advertising purposes. The few such posters produced consist exclusively of text in most cases. The same holds true for the posters of the early political parties and trade unions, which simply announce meetings, assemblies or demonstrations. The organizations were small and had little money for propaganda.

The flyers were printed in letterpress on very thin paper to make them easier to affix to surfaces. They were not the work of designers or artists. Sometimes all typefaces available to the printer were jumbled together, without compromising the expressiveness or aesthetic appearance of the posters.

Only at the end nineteenth century did posters start to feature illustrations, thanks to lithography. For the first time, large posters were printed in different colours and in large quantities, although such techniques were too expensive for all but a few large, national political organizations. The temperance league, for example, addressed a broad public and could afford to commission well-known artists and to print their posters in large numbers.


1. Designer unknown, Fellow citizens, 1870
2. G. Becker, The Workman's Herald, ca. 1887
3. Designer unknown, International Day of Labour, 1892
4. Designer unknown, Big 'soirée variée', 1894
5. Willem Vaarzon Morel, Oh father stay at home, ca. 1898


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