Propaganda today

Propaganda has evolved since it originated in the first world war


As changes in marketing developed through the 20th century and into the 21st the lessons learnt from political propaganda were not forgotten. Illustrations and photographs are still considered powerful tools to make us think or feel a certain way.

After the Worlds Wars propaganda machines were stopped. This is why many of the posters came from soviet and political activists instead of the west, although there were posters still emerging from the UK’s involvement.

Propaganda began to change from being solely government influenced to having public artists creating their own art to voice individual opinions on issues of interest.

The changes showed that development of propaganda styled posters was much more varied and unveiled artistic talent. Peter Kennard an artist from London used his style to portray his activism. He began using original collage styles and photography, cutting up different images to create new messages.

Kennard felt the power of the image could be an effective tool, new waves of collage, print and photography were being introduced.


The Internet became so huge and easily accessible that art and posters could be spread digitally and to more people. Social media such as blogs, Facebook, twitter and Instagram have increased the rate at which work can be shared.

Styles of old political propaganda posters were not lost after the wars, pictures and photographs are still used as powerful tools. Many still use the classic styles of printing, bold lines, colours and slogans and still used to make people think a certain way towards something.

Banksy is one of the most well known political artists in the UK today using his own newly introduced style of graffiti and stencils to portray his messages across the world. Working with many political and social issues such as Anti-war, Anti-fascism and Anti-capitalism he also deals with human issues such as ‘Greed, Power, Hypocrisy and Alienation’. Banksy tries to portray that power is not always key, and critics describe his work as ‘simple vandalism’


21st century propaganda is different from the past, being harder to determine what is propaganda. Today’s propaganda mainly comes from news media and entertainment, mainly sourcing from TV and online.

Five billionaires in Britain control 80% of printed media and just five Internet providers control 87% of what people can see online. The government influences both but in a review of Tom Watsons book ‘Dial M for Murdoch’ Dave Hyland shows how politicians in the UK may have fallen for Rupert Murdoch’s power and wealth.

Colin Moore states in his book (Propaganda Prints 2010) that ‘the Internet and social media are really changing the game’ and that ‘we are probably touched by hundreds of images everyday all propaganda of one kind or another (

Artwork used in Britain other than by independent artists usually involves a political vote or government issue. The independent propaganda styles can still be used positively and is more created to make the viewer think about the subject rather than influence them. Coming elsewhere than the government more posters are thought provoking or have a message about human issues, health and the world’s bigger picture.


Today people are Iconoclasts, attacking beliefs or groups by subverting traditional propaganda styles for their own ends. Traditional icons are changed to influence public opinion.

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