25 years of AIDS prevention posters, which is to say, where health education and great graphic design meet. From an exhibit at the Art Directors Club, New York City. On the importance of the posters to combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the curator of the exhibit writes:
Ever since the AIDS epidemic struck, the responsibility of educating the world’s public has gained dramatically in significance. In many countries, the poster as a medium of information was unknown before the emergence and identification of the HIV virus. With a disease involving sexuality and sexual behavior, and therefore social and moral issues deeply rooted in culture and tradition, messages to raise awareness and encourage preventative behavior have varied significantly to best serve the intended audience. The poster has played a special role in promoting AIDS awareness and safe sex education across cultures—different aims, messages, visual metaphors, and strategies have strongly influenced the content and design of AIDS posters. These messages can successfully reach specific targeted groups because the poster as a medium is cheap and easy to produce locally.
The sad truth is the messages from these posters are still relevant, even from 25 years ago. A few more semi-random examples:
Finally, a semi-campy, half-ironic Swiss ad. I promise you’ll never look at those little cheeses with the milkmaid on them the same way ever again.