From the spring through the fall of 1968, students and workers across Asia, Europe and North America were emboldened to speak out against political and social injustice in their countries, demanding meaningful and immediate change. These protestors overwhelmingly relied on visual media to promote their cause; as a result the demonstration poster became a consummate example of the intersection between document and fine art, progress and subversion.
Specifically considering the student-led protests in Paris and Mexico City, this study argued that graphic art—in particular mass-produced silkscreen posters—provided the ideal platform for exposing corruption, rallying support, and distributing information amongst protesters. Posters were inexpensive and quick to produce, allowing movement leaders to constantly respond to events as they occurred. Using bold single-color graphics, these signs developed a visual vocabulary of dissent—replete with raised fists, barred mouths, zombie-like eyes, and helmeted police brutes—that helped to refine the character and ideals of the movement. Above all the protest poster was fittingly democratic, allowing the people involved to circumvent established, often government-run, media outlets, relay the important issues and reinvent the system from the ground up.