James Montgomery Flagg Essay

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What relevance does James Montgomery Flagg’s poster have to modern and contemporary practice in the discipline area of poster design? Between the years of 1917-1918 over four million copies were printed of James Montgomery Flagg’s stern image of Uncle Sam pointing to the viewer, above the words, “I Want You for U.S. Army.” Flagg’s poster was based on the original British Lord Kitchener poster, three years earlier. This was as the US entered World War 1 and began sending troops to war. Flagg used a modified version of his own face for ‘Uncle Sam’, which engaged the casual passer-by and created an emotional response, that they had to fight for their country. How could you avoid the pointing finger of Uncle Sam? How could you stand by and do nothing after…show more content…
Flagg illustrated and designed forty-six different poster images during the course of WW1. Another one of them telling America to “Wake up”, where a woman, covered in the American stars and stripes is asleep, with a storm of war brewing behind her, a personification that America sleeps. Fig 5. (James Montgomery Flagg, 1917, ‘Wake Up America’ poster) Propaganda is used in every political poster, however Flagg does not use it in an evil way, he cleverly designed the posters to get you to think and pull on your emotions. We can see this in today’s contemporary practice, as the U.S. are currently in the middle of the presidential election, with debatable slogans being used in their posters, communicating a biased opinion to their target audience. All designed for a purpose and influenced by different things. For example, New York street artist Hanksy has created anti-Trump art, for Trump protesters, adopting the “Dump Trump” slogan. Hanksy used suitable imagery, the catchy slogan and of course the purpose to communicate to the target audience, all Americans, not to vote for
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