Red Cross Truck

Title Red Cross Truck
Creator L.L. Wilbur
Date 1918
Format 29.9 x 40.5 in
Description Propaganda artists were regularly instructed to make the message of each poster exceedingly clear, and this large 29.9 x 40.5 in. poster by L.L. Wilbur for the American Red Cross illustrates both the strengths and weaknesses of providing audiences with room for interpretation. The poster has no verbal message, no exact instructions for how audiences should act. Instead, the poster features a large field ambulance with the unmistakable logo of the aid organization emblazoned on the side. Although the ambulance is still, it is surrounded by a frenzy of action: two soldiers prepare to load a gurney into the back, small explosions are visible in the sky, and a mass of shapes in the background hoist an American flag. While no verbal message is present, the visual message that the Red Cross provides assistance to soldiers in conflict zones is clearly shown. The persuasive strategy to rely almost entirely on visual communication sets this poster apart, and the inclusion of a large truck would have likely appealed to viewers at the time given the popularity of automotive technology, but without a specific call to action, the viewer’s attention is potentially squandered.
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