There is a growing influence of Soviet style propaganda being seen in contemporary art, graphic design and advertising in western culture. Bold prints and illustrations reminiscent of the posters produced in the Soviet Union in the early 1900’s have been appearing in magazine ads, billboards, street murals, galleries and art fairs. This retro style has become so popular that the advertising agency Clemenger BBDO decided to use it in their M & M, “The Redolution is now!” ad campaign.
Communist propaganda in Soviet Russia was primarily based on Marxism-Leninism ideology to promote the Communist Party line. Artists employed by the state would produce stencils and lithographs that not only are beautiful, but could influence the opinion of the population.
One of the most influential and well-known graphic designers from this era is Dmitry Moor, 1883 – 1946. Moor’s bold block style narratives gained power with contrasts of then and now, enemies versus heroic allies, imperialism against workers’ struggles.
Many of Moor’s posters were limited to red and black. Red would be used to identify revolutionary elements such as flags, workers shirts and blouses. Black was used to outline the main drawing and as a solid color for the clothes of capitalists and priests. This became Moor’s signature style and has influenced contemporary artists and designers today.
One contemporary American designer and illustrator whose work greatly resembles the work of Dmitry Moor is Shepard Fairey. Fairey is best known for his “André the Giant Has a Posse” (…OBEY…) sticker campaign, and his Barack Obama “Hope” poster.
When comparing the works of Moor and Fairey one can’t help but notice the same wood block style and use of red and black. Although the subject matter and meaning of their posters and prints are very different, the design style and type treatment are quite similar.
Although Dmitry Moor passed away in 1946, his graphic design style and technique continues to influence western artists and designers today.