Iconic Images

On this Memorial Day, I’d like to reflect for a moment on icon images and their immediately recognizable messages.  In 1942, Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller painted a series of posters for Westinghouse in support of the war effort.  The posters were created to boost the morale of the women who needed to step in and fill jobs that were normally done by men, while the men were away at war.

One of those posters has become an iconic image of World War II, and has subsequently become an immediately recognizable message for women’s empowerment — “Rosie the Riveter”.  (The image below is in the public domain).

An image can be a powerful tool in change.  It provides a unifying element, and combined with a slogan that is short and meaningful, the message is easily disseminated and adopted.  Consider the cultural change that occurred between World War II and now, and the part this image had to play in that change.

Today we remember and thank all those who have served for our country, and we embrace the idea that going forward into the future, “We Can Do It!”.


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