'Large letter'd as with thundering shout' : an analysis of typographic posters advertising emigration to New Zealand 1839 - 1875 : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Visual and Material Culture, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
The Author
This thesis examines the role of ephemeral, typographic material in the promotion of emigration to New Zealand in the nineteenth century. It focuses on the advertising posters produced by the New Zealand Company, the Otago and Canterbury Associations, the provincial governments and Government of New Zealand. It aims to identify how advertising and typography contributed to the transfer of the promotion message from the producer to the audience in this specific historical context. For the first time a comprehensive data set of emigration posters of this period has been gathered together and examined. The posters are analysed in the context of their contemporary visual, material and print cultures, with particular reference to ephemeral printing. To account for all the historical, textual and graphic properties of the posters, the thesis develops and applies a novel, multilayered system of analysis, drawing on communication theory, social semiotic principles and Gestalt principles of composition. The posters afforded emigration promoters a visual medium for distributing audienceappropriate messages through typographic strategies. They provided promoters with the facility for fast and inexpensive messaging that was otherwise unavailable in nineteenth century communication. The thesis concludes that posters were a significant part of an early, coherent and systematic advertising campaign which utilised processes and persuasive tools that have traditionally been seen as emergent only in the late nineteenth century. This thesis establishes the value of ephemeral material and the study of graphic language when applied to the examination of historical phenomena. As well as shedding new light on these particular forms of historical design and modes of communication, it also adds a further valuable dimension to the more well-known story of nineteenth century emigration promotion by focussing on its graphic and advertising languages rather than its pictorial aspects. The investigation undertaken provides a new analytical system through which a combination of historical, ephemeral, typographic and advertising material can be examined in the future.
Posters, Advertising, Emigration and immigration, History, 19th century, New Zealand, Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION::History and philosophy subjects::History subjects::History