Presentation Feedback: Propaganda Typography and added research

Propaganda Typography Research

Out of all my ideas, Kate told me that she felt I should take forward my idea demonstrating the Volvo’s stopping power. This was my idea that featured the head of a deer in front of a car. The feedback I got during my presentation was to look more into propaganda, and explore the types of fonts that are used in propaganda posters.

To start off my research, I looked at different styles of typography used on propaganda posters- which i found from google images. Below are some of the styles I found. These all have a running theme, they are bold and feature mostly straight edges. They also appear to be on the page almost in lines; diagonal, horizontal, vertical or straight, and most letters have very harsh edges to them.

Another running theme throughout these typefaces is the colours used for them. A mild yellow/cream colour appears to make an appearance in most of these typefaces, along with red and blacks. Two of them however, feature blues which show a less noticeable approach than the others. Based on Kate’s feedback, I feel using reds in my poster would not be such a good idea due to the fact it creates intimidation, and as my poster features an animal in front of the car bonnet, this would not be effective in creating the type of message I was aiming for.

How Propaganda has been modernized

Through my research of propaganda typography, it became clear to me that all the typography I had found on the internet was old-fashioned, or war based. This is where Propaganda started. However, I am looking to create a modern advert, and using old style typography would hold more links to advertising vintage cars, when I am advertising modern. Therefore, as extra research I decided to look at how propaganda has been modernized, and used in modern day adverts.

The first thing I came across was this website.

It had a list of examples of modern day film companies that have used Propaganda on their film posters. The first poster that stood out to me was the poster below. Made by Paramount Pictures, this is a poster advertising Transformers, Age of Extinction, which was released July 5th 2014. Propaganda has been used in this case as a power of intimidation, and the typography is bold and direct. Use of the word ‘YOU’ is something I found very common in older propaganda posters, and shows how it is still an important feature in the never ones. Like this, the colour black is used additionally like the older propaganda posters I explored. I am particularly fond of the typography that has been used on this poster as I feel the use of white with a black rectangular background makes the type quite noticeable, and through the black colour, shows the importance it plays in the advertisement. The typeface its self is also interesting, as it is not sharp and angular like I would have expected it to be, but has soft edges, which contradict the style of typography found on the older posters.

The poster uses a set colour scheme, and much like other posters I have explores, evokes a sense of shock. The majority of the poster is a photograph, which has most likely been manipulated in Photoshop, where the colour has been removed and reduced, and a bruising effect has been created, to show the idea that this person has been attacked. This is very different to older propaganda posters, which are usually hand-drawn, and therefore shows how the film company has adapted propaganda to be suitably used in their poster. As I am aiming to use photographs in my car advert, I may refer to this poster to see how I can adapt propaganda to fit in with my concept, like this poster has done.


‘Days of the Future Past’ Poster

This is another example of a poster that was shown on the website that I first found. In my opinion, the link to propaganda is a lot more obvious in this poster. The reason I think this is because of the blue, black and white colour scheme and the inclusion of the American flag. As a lot of propaganda posters used to be made for political purposes, the inclusion of the American flag in this poster already gives it a strong link to the concept. Furthermore, the colour scheme is a lot like those used in traditional propaganda posters, and the phrase ‘ARE THE ENEMY’ is again something I can pick out a strong link to the concept through the sharp typography. However, the main word used on this poster is the word ‘MUTANTS’ the idea of using red for this word helps further to link to propaganda, and the sharp edges of the typography also back up this point. However, we can see a big development in the typography from the old style of typography often found on these types of posters, as it is more creative, and helps to convey the message that as ‘MUTANTS ARE THE ENEMY’ they should be destroyed.


20th Century Fox, 2013, San Diego Comic-Con poster, Days of the future past (x-men)

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games is another film which uses Propaganda in its posters. Ever since its first release in 2012, the film company have been using propaganda in their advertising of the film, and even through their website. The reason behind using propaganda in their adverts is due to the actual plot of the film its self. The posters encourage you to take sides with the Capitol, which is a place/society in The Hunger Games, that revolt against some of the main characters in the film. The idea of using propaganda to take sides is something done traditionally in propaganda posters, and The Hunger Games have only modernized it to use for their purpose.

At the very bottom of each poster, small typography can be seen saying ‘PANEM TODAY, PANEM TOMORROW, PANEM FOREVER’ this shows the use of a slogan to advertise and help you remember these posters in particular. I like the idea of using a slogan as I feel if done correctly, can be catchy and become quite well known and therefore is a successful tool in advertising. I would like to use a slogan on my car advert, and I feel showing it at the bottom of the poster like the slogan here, doesn’t take the main focus away from the poster, and as a slogan is not always necessary, doesn’t distract the audience too much. It is just a simple added way to advertise something, and help the advert to be remembered.


Statistic Research

Additionally, Kate suggested it would be a good idea to include some sort of statistic in my poster. The statistic she suggested was too show how fast the car stops in comparison to other cars. For this I am going to research statistics of Volvo’s safety features and how they compare to other cars.

The first thing I found was on Volvo website, which was the quotation:

“Cutting accident claims by 28 percent” 

When reading further into this I found the case study which described that an annual review of Volvo’s showed the car to cause 28% less accidents than they had done the previous year, due to the safety features that are continuously expanding. This statistic is perhaps something which, like Kate said, could be used on my advert to show how safe Volvo’s really are, and giving the advert a strong figure to back up the safety feature being described.

Continuing my research I found this statistic also on Volvo website:

“Up to 90 percent of all road accidents are caused by distraction. Half of all drivers hitting another vehicle from behind do not brake at all prior to the collision.”

Again this is another very important statistic, and has incredibly strong links to my advert. The quote explains that in many collisions, the driver behind most likely does not brake at all, causing their vehicle to hit the one in front of them. This links to my advert as like a car, animals that run out onto the road often aren’t seen and due to distraction are often hit and killed. This statistic of ‘90%’ is incredibly high, and shows the carelessness many people have whilst driving. This is where the automatic stop comes in, as to avoid collision the car comes to a halt, most likely before you’ve even had time to consider breaking. The reduction of collisions with cars and animals is immensely increased with this feature, and with this figure to back up the main point of my advert, I feel it could be very effective.

Volvo back up their safety features once more by saying:

“Collision Warning and auto brake was considered the best auto braking system in the world in a test by German organisation ADAC in 2011.”

This quote shows the Volvo has been tested and approved, and in this case ‘considered the best auto braking system’, showing how powerful this feature really is. However, stating ‘2011’ I feel this is not the strongest quotation as is outdated, and if I were to put it on my poster may make people question as to why the Volvo has not achieved this in more recent years, as the vehicle’s advertising claims to be the safest vehicle on the road now.

Out of these three statistics I have found I feel that using the one that states “90%” (the second one I found) is perhaps the best statistic to use. It is a high number, therefore is attention grabbing, and I feel that using this over the statistic of 28% creates more of a shock amongst the audience. I feel that the aim of the statistic is to enlighten people as to what the dangers of the road are, and how the automatic braking system prevents damage due to this high statistic.


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