Zionist Posters: From Cigarettes to Fighter Jets

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In 2012 I wrote a Daily Heller story on Dan Walsh’s Palestine Poster Project Archives. Among the posters that he collected at that time were those that illustrated the workers’ role in the development of an Israeli state. Dating back to the 1930, posters have played a large part in the promotion and propagation of Israel. Even the woodcut film posters from Tel Aviv in the ’30s had a special flair, a book of which David Tartakcover edited in 1995 (more here).

The posters below are a mixed bag from the late ’30s through late ’50s ranging from advertisements for cigarettes and consumables to political campaigns to military recruitment—and even a boxing match-up. (See more here.) Posters show Israel’s defensive might and its historical destiny. Some of them may seem bittersweet in light of the tragic unrest in the region today, others have an heroic aura when seen in the context of the Holocaust only a few years earlier. They combine European design traditions with contemporary Hebrew type and letters and, taken as a body, are windows on the social, cultural, commercial and political country that was being built at the time.


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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →