ePoster Gallery

Animal attributes

The tendency to assign human characteristics to other living beings is shown in all the poster categories. On the posters shown, the animals often take the leading role, or at least an important supporting role. In the promotional slogan, the presumed character traits of the animal in question are linked, more or less directly, with a product, an event or a political message. Mischievous, playful, anthropomorphised or provoking disgust – the animals are put centre stage on the posters presented here. They often address us, the viewer, directly, enthusiastically recommend the product to us and try to reach us emotionally.


Here we talk to Nico Lazúla Baur, archivist for the poster collection at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, in a brief interview.

The exhibition opens with a butterfly advertising sun cream. What’s the background to this?

At the start of the 20th century, tanned skin was still associated with the stigma of working on the land, and therefore looked down upon. It wasn’t until industrialisation took hold that copious amounts of sunbathing became popular. A paradigm shift took place in relation to suntanned skin, and the cosmetic industry reacted to the dangers of sunbathing with products like Hamol Ultra. The butterfly in this advertisement represents bliss, pleasure and the warmer time of year.


Animals are frequently chosen as a subject for poster design. Why is that?

The character traits associated with the animals elicit a response from viewers according to the «attract or repel» principle. Basically, they rely on the cuteness factor. It’s even got a name – «cute marketing». The aim is to elicit positive feelings in the potential customers and encourage them to purchase the product or take action. 

To emphasise the message, animals are also often used in political posters, whether they are used as a symbol, such as the greedy, repugnant rat with no regard for law, order and property, or the many-armed octopus, which, in a poster by Exem, has become the symbol of threatening and destructive capitalism.


Does the snarling bulldog represent a counter-example of this «cute marketing»?

This image, which suggests that the blood-red bulldog is about to attack the next person it comes across, is really unusual and is a clear counter-example. This poster by Thomas Theodor Heine from 1896 does not make it immediately clear, either from the picture or from the text, what it’s advertising.

Simplicissimus was a weekly satirical, combative magazine launched at the end of the 19th century, which mirrored the tendencies of the time and criticised the hypocritical bourgeois morals of state and church power.

Viktor Rutz
Hamol ultra
Release date 1942
Herbert Berthold Libiszewski
Lutteurs – Mein neues Hemd
Release date  1945
Niklaus Stoecklin
Release date 1944
Jung von Matt/Limmat AG
Schon jedes fünfte Kind ist zu dick. 
Release date 2008
Velvet Creative Office GmbH
Schauspielhaus Zürich – Zwerg Nase nach Wilhelm Hauff 
Release date 2011
Samuel Marty, Markus Junker
Summer School – Weiterbildung in Kunst und Design
Release date 2020
The PR factory
<Schmusekater_16> Bisch single? Würd dich gern nöcher kännelernä!
Eine Kampagne der Stadt Zürich gegen sexuelle Ausbeutung von Kindern und Jugendlichen im Internet.
Release date 2008
Kern & Bosshard
Release date 1948
Donald Brun
Zwicky Nähseide
Release date 1953
Vitamin 2 AG / Dominic Rechsteiner
Olma – 76. Schweizer Messe für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung 
Release date 2018
Eine starke Partnerschaft für nachhaltigen Handel.
Ja zum Abkommen mit Indonesien
Release date 2021
Alex Walter Diggelmann
Hotel Beau Rivage – Interlaken
Release date 1935
Paul Imhof
Kunstgewerbemuseum Stadt Zürich – Plakatwettbewerbe–Ausstellung
Release date 1916
Thomas Theodor Heine
Release date 1896
Donald Brun
Gevaert Film
Release date 1947
McCann Erickson AG
Elnapress – Nie mehr bügeln
Release date 1996
Herbert Leupin
Schwarzhändler sind Volksschädlinge 
Release date 1941
Ruf Lanz Werbeagentur AG / Danielle Lanz, Markus Ruf, Isabelle Hauser
Photo: Carioca Studios
Solange manche Tiere wie Müll behandelt werden,braucht es uns.
20 Jahre Tier im Recht
Release date 2016
Superposition, Agence créative communication visuelle
Fureur de lire – Genève
Release date 2019
Vegalo GmbH / Joseph Pisani
Palliative Care – Leben bis zuletzt – Stadthaus Zürich 
Release date 2003
Emil Cardinaux
Jlco – der Qualitäts Schuh
Release date 1927
René Gilsi
Rüssel weg vom Brot der Alten!
Städt. Versicherungsstatut: Ja
Release date 1944
Ruf Lanz Werbeagentur AG / Danielle Lanz, Markus Ruf, Isabelle Hauser 
Nur Tiere dürfen bei Tierquälerei wegschauen – Bitte unterstützen Sie tierfreundliche Gesetze – Tier im Recht
Release date 2020
Zogg. Kettiger. Gasser. Werbeagentur AG
Photo: Ernst Voller
Auch kleine Kunden schnuppern gern bei uns – Migros City
Release date 1992
Niklaus Stoecklin
Soll Basel 30 Jahre zurückkrebsen?
Museumsbau Ja
Release date 1932
Benjamin Burger, Adrien Moreillon
Mehrspur – Musikklub für Konzerte von Pop bis Jazz und Parties
Release date 2014
Non à la destruction des Bains des Pâquis
Release date 1988
Atelier Bundi AG / Stephan Bundi
Die Katze auf dem heissen Blechdach – Tennessee Williams – Theater Biel Solothurn
Release date 2012
Hausgrafik / Urs Althaus
ISC Januar 
Release date 2000
Niklaus Troxler
Das Lachen – nach dem gleichnamigen Essay des französischen Philosophen Henri Bergson 
Release date 1993

Poster collection, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich

The poster collection at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich is one of the most comprehensive and important archives of its kind in the world. It contains around 350,000 objects, with about 120,000 catalogued, all documenting the national and international history of the poster from its origins in the mid-19th century to the present day.  The collection includes political, cultural and commercial posters. Their 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. Some of the posters are available to view in the museum’s online database: This database is constantly being expanded.



The images in this online exhibition are part of the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich’s digital poster collection and are for illustration purposes only. Publication of the images or other commercial use for the benefit of third parties is not permitted without the permission of the copyright holders. For information on ordering image templates: