in Design

Big Collection Of Oldest Soviet Posters

With the Russian Revolution of 1917, for the first time in history an entire nation is governed by a communist system. The posters from the first years of this government show revolutionary zeal and optimism of building a new society. Campaigns are waged to eliminate illiteracy and improve health care. Other posters attack the opponents of Lenin’s government: a bloody civil war swept the country until 1920. Progressive artists use the poster as a medium to reach a broad public. As far as style is concerned, they do not have to cope with artistic directives yet.

By 1930, Stalin is in full control. Propaganda focuses on political discipline and the Five Year Plans, ambitious programs for the collectivization of agriculture and establishment of heavy industry. The poster printing examples give a powerful, dynamic impression, using photomontage, compositions with diagonal lines, and strong contrasts in colours and shapes.

In the 1930s, this Constructivist style falls from grace. Critics claim it is unrealistic, too difficult to comprehend, and too individualistic. Constructivist designers experience great difficulties; only Socialist Realism is approved. Happy, healthy, young workers and determined soldiers are the principal subjects, as well as, of course, the friendly smiling Stalin.


Alexandru is the co-owner of TopDesignMag. “If it looks easy, it's hard. If it looks hard, it's impossible. If it looks impossible, it's due tomorrow. At 8 A.M.”