Soviet Union

In this Russian-designed poster for the German film ‘The Boxer’s Bride,’ the disembodied faces of a man and a woman smile out at the viewer from a black background, hovering above a stylized boxing ring. Their heads are enveloped in concentric circles, to give the impression of their presence as an apparition. In the boxing ring below, two fighters spar on a vibrant red floor, the white perimeter of the ring cutting rectangular outline, which appears as a stack of three suspended squares. Below, in blocky black letters on yellow, the title of the film in Russian. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
USSR In The Ring
In the early years of the Soviet Union, there was a strong urge to understand all elements of life in terms relating either to the bourgeoisie or the proletariat. Many longstanding assumptions pertaining to the role of arts and leisure in society were subject to ideological debate. Constructivist artists, eager to secure a role for...
Revolution in a Grid of Dots
Although photography was invented in 1839, its impact on poster design remained relatively minor until the late nineteenth century, as traditional lithography and letterpress are incapable of reproducing shades of gray. A sea change in poster design arrived with the advent of the halftone process, which emerged fully in the 1880s. Halftone mimics the appearance...
Six blocks of text outlining Stalin's 1931 "Six Conditions" speech overlap a black and white photo of Stalin. Additional quotes from the speech, printed in red and black Cyrillic appear to the right of Stalin's head at an angle against a cream-colored section. Above this, the speech's title appears in red, against a grey background.
Designing for a Dictator
Bold text surrounds a black-and-white photograph of Joseph Stalin in this Soviet poster from 1931. The poster was designed to reinforce the tenets of a speech by the leader, delivered to a meeting of industrial managers in June of the same year. The speech outlined six conditions for new industrial development, all of which are...
A phalanx of soldiers stands at the center of the poster, waving red flags. A title beneath them reads "The 1st of May." They are flanked by peasants and workers. An angular, modern cityscape rises behind them.
Between Heaven and Earth: Icons of the Revolution
With raised flags and soaring spirits, soldiers, sailors, workers, and peasants rally together in this Soviet poster by Nikolai Kogout. United, they celebrate May first, International Workers’ Day. Conceived as a labor strike for an eight-hour workday, the holiday was adopted by Soviet leaders to commemorate the struggle of proletarian workers around the world. In...
Invitation with black and red text in Russian on beige ground, with dividing red vertical rectangle.
Mainstream Modernism: An Open Invitation
Arresting typography and geometric precision distinguish these Soviet-era tickets, and illustrate the permeation of fine art into daily life in the USSR. The tickets reflect the influence of constructivism, an avant-garde movement characterized by the same angular abstraction evident in these designs. Here, bold blocks of color are poised in asymmetrical balance. As in a...