David Airey is an independent graphic designer working with companies of all sizes since 2005.
Published on June 23rd, 2007
With over 2,000 Russian poster designs, this website has plenty to get you inspired.
Thanks to David the designer for pointing me in the direction of these poster designs.
Join the mailing list for new content twice a month, or grab the feed.
Archived under Posters.
You almost read my mind, David. I’m about to post something similar on my blog, not Russian posters, but… you’ll just have to wait and see :-)
In case you or anyone is interested, here’s what those posters say:
1925 – Theatre poster, an announcement for a play on January 29, 30, 31 (and Feb 1). The play is called Teacher Bubus.
1930 – An announcement from a Zoo about getting more new animals. :-)
1929 – That’s right – toothpaste ad
1972 – No to Fascism
1920 – You have to Work, you’ve got the riffle (hmm… weird ad)
Vivien, thanks for your additional description. Looking forward to your post.
1920 – so, they gave you a rifle to protect yourself from big, bad Russian bears; and so its safe to go back to work now??
A great find and some wonderful designs. Yes, lots of inspiration there. I’m looking forward to your post Vivien.
actually, regarding 1920 poster.. the translation is not really correct
Right form will be “[we] have to work, but keep your rifle nearby”. Or, even “have to work, rifle is near”. Civil war time…
Hello demiurg, I appreciate the translation. It gives the poster more meaning.
demiurg, I guess you have a better vision than I do, ’cause I didn’t see any use of the word “but”. The 2nd version is actually the literally translated one: “have to work, rifle is near”. Anyhow, it does make more sense now :-)
David and Johno, the post is slowly forming up, so stand by :-)
That toothpaste ad seems a bit racist. Yep its amazing how its everywhere I go…
Kenn, I’m curious how the toothpaste poster is racist. And do excuse me if I’m being naive.
The Russian poster indeed says.
Need to work. (Rabotat Nado)
Rifle near(by). (Vintovka Ryadom)
-Have doesn’t translate as a synonym for need in Russian, ‘imiyet’ or ‘have’ means to be in possession of-
The meaning that you cannot stop working because of safety concerns but you should bring a rifle. This poster was created in the nativity of the socialist Russian state and the government was still concerned about being overthrown by the anti-Bolsheviks. The concerns did not lessen until 1921.
The majority of laborers (called Christians) were former members of the army and many had turned on the czar in 1917 (Russian Civil War). They retained their czarist weapons to use in the conflict against the monarch.
Later as with most authoritarian governments, strict gun control was imposed on the population. Communists knew how effective having guns was for their cause when they were the revolutionaries, they did not want to give the same advantage to people that may not toe the Party line in the future.
The poster as you can see is one of the earliest from the communist propaganda line and is a turning point in soviet design to the constructivist movement, and is even similar to the reductionist style of Piet Mondrian both in the simplicity of the shapes and the use of primary colors.
Great post David.
Excellent insight, Igor! Thanks for taking the time to comment. Now you mention it I see a lot of Mondrian’s style in that poster.
Yes, Soviet Poster Art is just amazing. There is a problem though. The excellent graphics speak for itself, but the history behind goes unnoticed. I have a blog on this – see the link above.
You have some great examples on your site, Alexander. Thanks for letting me know.
I know this is old, but to answer your question as to why the toothpaste poster might be racist please refer to the link below for more information.
Hope that helps
Comments may be edited or deleted if I don't like the cut of your jib, but that's quite unlikely.
Email (required but never shown)
Notify me of followup comments via e-mail
Self-employed since 2005 // Thanks very much for reading