Thesis: Design in Communist Poland

The fundamental role of design in responding to ongoing socio-cultural, political and economic changes in the Communist Poland.

This thesis is set in times of unrest and shortages that force a re-evaluation of values, systems and structures in every part of society. That process took place when after the World War II Poland has fallen under hard Communist regime. This work explores how design responded to those difficult times, how it dealt with censorship and limitations imposed by The Party, changing market conditions and new ideologies. I will introduce the reader to main designers and events of the era evaluating their relevance and contribution. To support my thesis, I used various works by the Cold War specialist David Crowley to gain a broader understanding of the scope of the Communist regime and sentiments of that time. Exploring individual artists and designers I looked among others at different essays and designers’ profiles from ‘Very Graphic. Polish Designers of the 20th Century’. Furthermore, this paper investigates different political alignment designers chose during the regime arguing of a need for a universal design ethical code. I start my analysis with the end of the War in 1945 and end with the collapse of the Communist regime in Europe and first post-war free elections in 1989.

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