Advertising Disease: An Evolution

Public health campaigns have come a long way, with the help of savvy graphic design and increasingly blunt messaging. A new book, “Can Graphic Design Save Your Life?” tracks the evolution.

Punchy posters in a massive public health education campaign in the US helped shrink tuberculosis cases from 1900-1940. Between world wars, campaigns evolved from veiled references to STDs to just coming out and saying it: “You can’t beat the Axis if you get VD.” Later, posters of demure white ladies aimed to squash stereotypes associating HIV with male homosexuals and Haitians.

National Geographic

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