The Use of Symbols in Propaganda

Symbols play an extremely important part in propaganda material involving artwork. Images are very powerful transmitters of ideas. Such artwork can be found in:

  • Posters
  • Handbills
  • TV spots
  • Web sites
  • Political cartoons
Analyzing symbols requires that you dispassionately study every part of the art. Try to see what each part of it means to you. What would it mean to an average person seeing it? Symbols may evoke strong nationalistic feelings, religious beliefs, prejudices, preferences, etc. Examine the entire piece.

Types of Symbols

Symbols can represent many things.

  • Your childhood
  • Patriotism
  • Your religion
  • Happier times
  • An enemy portrayed as a villain
  • Need for a national effort

These symbols usually do not need words. The visual impact alone is sufficient.