Literature Review

this is a draft


During my research I found, that the begins of political graphics dates back to Rome and were ‘cited in the ‘graffiti’ of Pompeii’ (McQuiston 1993:14) the tools that they used back in Rome – slogans and commentary painted over the city walls- this could be argued that it is the beginnings of political debates as we know them today. Another form of protest design occurred when improvement to the printing press made in the mid 1880s ‘meant that mass-circulation illustrated newspapers’ (McQuiston 1993:16) could be push forward the political debates and discussions through cartoons and the cartoonists ‘held considerable influence on the voting public’ (McQuiston 1993:16).

Political protests are “an essential part of keeping democratic societies healthy” and designers “have used their skills to communicate their dissent throughout history and are doing so even more now since the birth of the Web and the increasing ease of disturbing posters and other printed materials”(Glaser and Ilic, 2006:Blurb). Due to the Internet it has become increasingly easier to communicate with the rest of the world, we can know read and hear about tragedies and conflicts from all the corners of the world. The technology that we hold can change history and youth formats such as Facebook, Twitter, charity concerts etc. have started a new era of ‘personal politics’, this era allows the world to agitate the government and those who are greedy to do something selfless. The internet also allows for ‘demonstrations and protests to happen as it communicates the word quickly’ (McQustion 2004:34)(McQuiston, 1993).

Even though I use McQuiston’s book quiet a bit there are some faults stated by Joe Clark: ‘she does not address the role graphic design plays in explaining why some activist movements succeed while others fail’ plus ‘she sheds no light on why, even with whiz-bang graphics’ (CLARK, n.d.) on how they could improve and use similar techniques as the establishment forces.


CLARK J, (n.d.) Graphic Agitation, [22/10/2012]

GLASER, M and ILIC, M(2006) The Design of Dissent, Massachusetts, USA: Rockport Publishers, Inc

McQUISTON, L (1993) Graphic Agitation: social and political graphics since the Sixties London: Phaidon

McQUISTON, L (2004) Graphic Agitation 2: social and political graphics in the digital age London: Phaidon


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