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Portugal: the fall of the fascist regime as seen through political poster design 1945-1975

Barbosa, Helena ;


A poster made by the fascist regime of the Estado Novo [c. 1935] illustrates perfectly the regime’s boastful pretension that Portugal was a European imperial power. But if the claim that the poster revealed elements of truth in the 1930s and 1940s, when Portugal’s grip on its “Overseas Provinces” (as they were then styled) was relatively secure, it began to break down, mainly during the 40’s. Starting from this reference point, the paper aims to ‘illustrate’ a narrative about the slow fall of the regime (1926-1974) seen through political poster design based on visual rhetoric, thereby providing a visual analysis of existing posters in Portugal from 1945 until 1975 (one year after the revolution). The paper presents the dominant aspects in realizing a poster from the perspective of the programme, authorship and technology. The programme as a cultural mediator is conveniently interpreted through authorship. In this analysis, it is also revealed that the preponderance of political images and text messages included in the posters enable the perception of how/what was used as a visual iconography. Furthermore, the paper will explain the political constraints and proposals relating to the production and reproduction of posters. Regarding authorship, this paper seeks to reveal the extent to which the author/artists were recognised and appreciated. Interpretation will also be made of the visual motifs selected by the author/artists, together with an understanding of the knowledge communicated in their configuration. Moreover, in addition to the processes involved in design practice, the paper seeks to identify the technologies involved in the reproduction of posters through the selection and use of particular technologies when the poster were created. Consequently, the paper aims to contribute to design historical knowledge through analysis of political poster opposing the regime of the dictatorship of Oliveira Salazar (1889-1970).


Palavras-chave: political posters, design history, dictatorship, Estado Novo,


DOI: 10.5151/despro-icdhs2014-0032

Referências bibliográficas
  • [1] Barbosa, H. (2012) ‘The design of Portuguese posters for sport from late 19th Century until the end of the 20th Century’, in Design History Society Conference (ed.) The material culture of sport: design, history, identity, Brighton: University of Brighton.
  • [2] França, J. A. (1991) A arte em Portugal no século XX, Vol. III, Lisboa: Bertrand Editora.
  • [3] Serrão, J. V. (2000) História de Portugal, Vol. XIV, (2003) Vol. XV, (2006) Vol. XVI, (2007) Vol. XVII, Lisboa: Verbo.
Como citar:

Barbosa, Helena; "Portugal: the fall of the fascist regime as seen through political poster design 1945-1975", p. 253-258 . In: Tradition, Transition, Tragectories: major or minor influences? [=ICDHS 2014 - 9th Conference of the International Committee for Design History and Design Studies]. São Paulo: Blucher, 2014.
ISSN 2318-6968, DOI 10.5151/despro-icdhs2014-0032

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