(click for larger image)
(click for larger image)

I’m a big fan of the propaganda poster.  So today’s Art Appreciation Moment features a new take on the propaganda poster by artist Paul Sizer.  The color, composition, and word usage ties this piece together, and had this been done in the 1940’s, it would probably hailed as one of the best examples of anti-Nazi propaganda.

Now that being said, you really owe it to yourself to take the jump and read Sizer’s response to people who may have taken offense to such a well done image.

This poster is an emulation of propaganda posters from the World War 2 era. Propaganda, by it’s definition, is simplification of ideas to elicit a reaction from the greatest number of people. During this era, these kinds of posters were used to rally the allies against a common enemy, that of the Nazi party and Hitler’s military complex (and later Japan).

While I do agree that Hitler’s ideals and actions are some of the most atrocious in history, I DO NOT endorse the automatic assignment of the actions of a person to the actions of a nation or ethnicity. We saw this raise its head after 9/11, and it was ugly and sad to see that it still exists. Hate towards anyone is not something I wish to foster or encourage, but I also feel it’s important to recognize when we are being asked to feel that way and question it, given the repercussions of unthinking actions (i.e. the last 8 years of American politics).

In making this poster, while light-hearted in intent, I did understand that it showed a simple-mindedness of intent that did permeate lots of the propaganda (on both sides) of the time. I would encourage viewers to take note of this, and look around them to see other examples of this used for ill ends.

Also, iconic typography and images like this poster uses can be used for good or bad purposes (for good use, see the recent Barack Obama “YES WE CAN” campaign posters!). Design works if it is well done; but the message of the design is as, if not more, important.

Also, to all persons out there named Fritz: this poster is NOT a slight to you. In war times like this, generic names were assigned to persons to represent a nation or ethnicity. Using a name like Fritz was another oversimplification in an attempt to assign actions to “the enemy” we as Americans were fighting. “Fritz” was also a generic term for any German soldier. It is not my intent to foster this kind of branding, but rather to bring it to light so that we can react and counter it when we see it happening today. We work better together than apart.

Thanks for reading and understanding. The smarter we are, the more art enhances our lives.


My own take on an World War II Allied propaganda poster, using my BLACK ANGEL illustration.

Nerd factor: I rebuilt the color image as a tritone using the red-blue-black colors used in the typography of the poster design to make it look more feasible for how it could have been actually printed. DESIGN NERD! DESIGN NERD!
Sorry, I call me like I see me!

PS: Nazis suck, just to be perfectly clear.

via Deviant Art

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. April 20, 2009 at 7:00 pm — Reply

    Great poster. Great use of type. It’s just sad that we have to over explain things when the intent and homage to the old war posters is so obvious. But then again this is the time period I write in, and have designed many things in, so maybe I’m just not looking at it as others would.

  2. April 20, 2009 at 10:32 pm — Reply

    Yep. It’s a good-lookin’ image.

  3. April 21, 2009 at 12:37 pm — Reply

    Hey Stephen, thank you SO much for the nice words and attention. I’m flattered you think this poster is worthy of more attention.

    And Anthony, I agree with you; I wish I didn’t have to explain myself so completely, but I’d rather be too precise than let people get the wrong idea; since DeviantArt has such a large percentage of younger contributors, I felt it best to explain in greater detail my intent and idea behind such an image. Sure, it’s overkill, but I also forget sometimes that a new generation may not have all the info I do going into a piece of art. Thanks much for the good words!

  4. April 21, 2009 at 1:31 pm — Reply

    Oh I completely understand Paul. It’s just sad in the general sense. It’s one thing not knowing events and what not but to now know the Nazis where what they were…

    Anyway good stuff man. Looking forward to more.

  5. April 27, 2009 at 4:30 am — Reply

    I liked this piece… until I read the artist’s comments. Oh, you poor oversensitive flower in touch with the collective spirit of humanity! How you suffer for us all!

    Seriously, jackass, go to Girl-Wonder and join the Eurotrash talking about how it’s no longer necessary to respect WWII vets because they “just fought in a war”. They’re at about the same level of false martyrdom as you.

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