Monday, January 10, 2011

Swiss People's Party Posters - Schweizerische Volkspartei - SVP

Some really interesting and controversial posters. This is the conservative party of Switzerland. Aside from their message, they are also seen as controversial because of their color scheme, as it is the same as the Nazi regime.

"Open the doors to abuse? No!" (in French)
"Stop, Yes on Minaret Ban" (in German), I believe this is to stop the growth of mosques, but it's unclear if this would include minaret's on catholic churches as well.

"Mass-Naturalization, STOP, yes to Naturalization Initiative" (in German). Recently, Switzerland tried to put a limit on the number of "L" visa's that were given (one year visa's). I think we can figure out who was behind that.

"Provide Security" (in German). This poster I've seen vandalized in some really interesting ways. In fact, it was so well done, I thought it was the actual poster, basically it involved making the Swiss cross into a Nazi swastika  Unfortunately I didn't have a camera (not even on my phone!). Though they all are pretty blatantly racist, I feel like this is the most obvious of them.

What I think is funny also (though admittedly in a sick way) is the SVP "Swiss quality" logo in the bottom corner of some of them. With a happy sun! They almost remind me of Fox news, except with better designers.

"Weapons Monopoly for Criminals, No to the Disarmament Initiative" in German. There are actually a lot of guns in Switzerland, as most men were in the army and they have a gun in their homes in case there is a need to suddenly defend their countries in their jammers.

What these posters really made me think is "who would design these?" All the graphic designers I know are fairly liberal, and it never occurred to me that there would be a conservative one. Which makes me think A) of course their are conservative designers, duh; B) this guy is being paid a lot of money if he's not conservative; and slightly irrelevant C) I really want to meet this guy.

These posters really make me think of designer ethics, and what our responsibilities as designers are. For industrial designers it is easier, try to design things that people need and that reuse, recycle, and repair easily. For graphic designers it's more difficult. We can use recycled paper and non-oil based inks, we can waste less paper in the work place, and we can insist our clients not print more than they need. Beyond that though, what can we do? The conclusion I came to is that we need to be morally sustainable.

We should do our best to design with clients that are doing things for the good of the environment and society. Designing for companies that are trying to sell their new phone plans, or to make a new logo for their bank, isn't something that will make this planets problems any better. At the end of the day the designer isn't doing anything morally sustainable.

This SVP designer is being morally unsustainable, though that may be my own political opinion, but it is unsustainable to promote xenophobia and fear of foreigners. If we deny third world citizens, some of whom are refugees mind you, the ability to leave their home country, then we are always going to have third world impoverished countries. Whether SVP likes it or not, the world is globalizing, and I understand that it wants to keep Swiss culture alive and pure, but there are easier ways to do this than to use foreigners as scapegoats.

Aside from political posters, where disagreement is inevitable to some degree, designers need to try to do morally sustainable projects. Design is all about better communication, solutions that resonate with their audience. For a designer to use their skills for groups who are doing sustainable projects (rescue foundations, children support groups, environmental groups, non profits, etc) it gives these groups a bigger and clearer voice, that is usually lost amongst phone plan and bank logo noise.


  1. Your right these do all seem blatantly racists and that little sun in the corner is hilarious. I wouldn't expect this kind advertising or propaganda to be that effective.

  2. Clever wording on the sheep poster: the word for sheep is "Schafe", which is of course very similar to "schaffen" (provide).