cover of book

Dole Queues and Demons: British Election Posters from the Conservative Party Archive
by Stuart Ball
foreword by Maurice Saatchi
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2012
Paper: 978-1-85124-353-2


Bold amalgams of graphic design, psychology, and art, election posters have remained unsung—and sometimes even maligned—since their inception at the beginning of the twentieth century. Through a careful selection from among the more than seven hundred posters in the Bodleian Library’s Conservative Party Archive, this lavishly illustrated volume charts the evolution of the election posters created by Britain’s Conservative Party.

Organized chronologically and by political period, each chapter begins with a brief introduction highlighting the major themes of the period as well as the specific issues individual posters were designed to engage. Together, the chapters demonstrate the changing fashions in and attitudes toward advertising, political ideology, and standards of acceptability in the election poster, and they offer fascinating insight into the strategies of the Conservative Party up to the present day. Rounding out the discussion is a foreword by advertising tycoon Maurice Saatchi, who discusses the posters from a communications and design perspective.


At a time when the new media seems poised to put an end to more traditional forms of mass communication, Dole Queues and Demons offers a timely retrospective of an enduring feature of the British electoral landscape.

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