Gestures and facial expressions are our foremost non-linguistic means of interpersonal communication. It is thus no coincidence that the face and hand are also popular motifs in visual communication. The history of posters is particularly rich in variations on the hand. In consumer posters and billboards, a hand presents desirable products or demonstrates how certain items are used. But the hand can also take the form of a symbolically charged gesture in the political poster: as fist held high, admonishing pointer finger, or violent paw. In cultural posters, the hand then becomes the emblem of the creative and artistic individual. Just as versatile as the rhetoric of the hand are its diverse uses as a design element. Photographic, illustrative and abstract graphic images add up to a small cultural history of the hand as an eloquent conveyor of messages.
With an essay by Arne Scheuermann.