New exhibition in the APG|SGA ePoster Gallery: Seeing red

The red collection – the use of a warning colour in posters

March 16, 2023

Traffic light red, crimson, cherry red or flame red: the APG|SGA ePoster Gallery that opened today showcases posters featuring the colour red. A virtual exhibition allows this bright hue to shine in a total of thirty exhibits from 1923 to the present day. The collection arose in collaboration with the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich. Its aim is to explore the symbolism of the most physical of all colours, which, in advertising, often represents love, heat, anger or strength.

Three times a year, the APG|SGA ePoster Gallery runs the gamut from current campaigns way back into the history of poster advertising, illustrating the impact of advertising then and now. Examining posters for their use of a certain colour invites you to take another look at their design. Red, as a strong colour, has been used with particular frequency by the creative professionals of the past and present, because the human eye reacts sensitively to this colour stimulus. The diversity of the names given to its myriad shades, such as fiery red, blood red and bright red, underlines the broad range of its symbolic power. ‘Red is perceived as warm and passionate, and is linked with courage and strength. However, it also stands for aggression and rage, and is used as a warning colour. These connotations are also reflected in common parlance, such as in the phrases “seeing red” or “like a red rag to a bull”’, explains Nico Lazúla, documentalist of the poster collection, who made the selection of posters for the virtual exhibition.

The following interview goes into these aspects in greater depth: visit the virtual poster exhibition and see red


Further information

  • A large portion of the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich’s poster collection is available to view in its online catalogue.
  • Digitalised posters from the collection can also be ordered as reproductions for private use.


Panorama of poster art
The poster collection at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich is one of the most important archives of its kind in the world. It contains around 350,000 objects, with about 150,000 of them digitally catalogued, documenting the national and international history of the poster from its origins to the present day. From this pool, the APG|SGA eMuseum draws exhibits for its occasional virtual exhibitions, which have provided financial and cultural support for the museum for years now. The diversity of historical, thematic and geographic subjects results in both a panorama of poster art and a glimpse into a visual archive of day-to-day life.




Nadja Mühlemann
Head of PR / press office