The Swiss population is called upon to participate actively in political decision-making processes
through regular referendums. Swiss campaign posters, which have influenced opinion-making since the beginning of the 20th century, bear testimony to direct democracy. This special form of political propaganda – prominently associated with Switzerland – is a sensitive indicator of socio-political moods and reflects both national mentalities and global tendencies.
Ja! Nein! Yes! No! Swiss Posters for Democracy reveals the rhetorical approaches that have sha-ped the Swiss campaign poster from 1918 to the present. Clichéd exaggerations, undifferentiated simplifications, a repertoire of drastic motifs and abridged slogans correspond to the laws of the medium, which is oriented towards a manipulative appeal to the masses. Subtly condensed mes-sages or graphically innovative language are hardly to be found. And yet many renowned designers created works that have become icons of Swiss poster design.
With an essay by Jakob Tanner, Professor Emeritus of Modern History at the University of Zurich