Fig1. Haddon Sundblom. Thirst knows no season (1931) The Coca Cola company.
Haddon painted this version for Coca cola every year until 1964
fig 2. Thomas Nast. Santa Claus in camp (1863) Harpers Weekly
This was the first depiction of Santa. Nast had him supporting the Union, later clothing him in red.
MALE, A. (2015) The power and influence of illustration: A future perspective [online]. Available at: http://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/1580/ [Accessed 8 December 2016]
The power and influence of illustration: A future perspective was presented as the keynote address at the CONFIA conference in April 2015, at Falmouth University. Subtitled ‘ How will an increase in multiculturalism, globalization, political and environmental change affect the future needs and expectations for visual communication?’
The paper poses many questions. Male examines the historical tradition of propaganda illustration. He uses even-handed examples from the early 15th century to the present day, and from the East, Middle East and West, concentrating initially on the persuasive and inflammatory power of illustrations, which comment on religion.
He uses the feedback from his current undergraduate students to gauge whether attitudes towards propaganda journalism and satire have changed over the last decade.
He establishes that propaganda journalism has an impact and uses examples, which include Sue Coe’s work on animal welfare and apartheid, and Thomas Nast’s election winning work for Abraham Lincoln, and his work supporting slave emancipation.
He brings the same attention to children’s literature, arguing that it is a particularly potent vehicle for subversive propaganda. The Iranian (Persian) book ‘Little Black Fish’ for example, contains coded symbolism, which was apparently only understood by the revolutionaries who deposed the Shah. In children’s literature, the difference between Eastern European and Western sensibility is noted.
Male asks an important question of the audience, about where their own ethical boundaries lie and uses his own practice to draw examples from. These are from the fields of Advertising and Education, the latter, he suggests, is where illustrators must show particular responsibility. These examples are looked at in the light of context and culture.
The conclusions drawn are thus: Student evidence suggests that there is less tolerance of explicit, and offensive material, and that illustrators should work within globally accepted ethical guidelines. An awareness of other cultural contexts will be paramount, and should inform sensitivity to diversity and beliefs.
The study asks pertinent questions about the global future of illustration, given that we operate in a multi-cultural, multi-faith world. It acknowledges that content can be deemed offensive depending on viewpoint. The examples are drawn from first hand knowledge and from visual communication history.
The Coca Cola Company (2012). The true history of Santa Claus.[online].Available at: http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/coke-lore-santa-claus [Accessed 10 December 2016]