This article provides an analysis of Dutch election posters in the period from 1946 to 2006. Based on the literature on the professionalization of political communication, several hypotheses are formulated regarding changes in textual and visual elements of those posters. These hypotheses focus on over-time changes in the presence and prominence of the party leader and party logo's as well as references to specific political issues and ideology in these posters. In total, 225 posters for 23 parties in 19 elections are analyzed. Results reveal that changes in visual elements are in line with the hypotheses, with an increased use of party logo, an increasing presence and prominence of the party leader, and a decreasing focus on ideology. The textual parts of the posters, however, show no or opposite trends. The results call for a more nuanced scientific treatment of the consequences of the professionalization of political communication and demonstrate the necessity to analyze both visual and textual elements of political parties' communication.
- campaign posters
- political parties