Yes! No! Swiss Posters for Democracy: Poster Collection 33 by Bettina Richter (Museum fur Gestaltung Zurich)
The Swiss population is called upon to participate actively in political decision-making processes through regular campaigns. These campaigns are often concerned with issues that heat up the emotions and lead to ideological battles. 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. Yes! No! Posters for Democracy reveals the visual argumentation strategies and rhetorical approaches that have shaped the Swiss campaign poster from 1918 to the present. Cliched exaggerations, undifferentiated simplifications, a repertoire of drastic motifs and abridged slo- gans correspond to the laws of the medium, which is oriented towards a manipulative appeal to the masses. Appeals to a sense of unity focus primarily on emotionalization, hardly on rational enlightenment. Subtly condensed messages or a graphically innovative language are hardly to be found in Swiss campaign posters. And yet many renowned designers created works that have inscribed themselves in the collective visual memory of the Swiss population and became icons of Swiss poster design.