The ‘We Can Do It!’ poster was designed by artist J. Howard Miller for the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company. It was made in 1942 to encourage women to take wartime jobs in the defence industries and was a symbol of female patriotism. Once the war ended, many companies forced women out of the jobs to give them back to the men that returned from war. The target audience for this poster would be working aged women.
The woman in this poster is known as Rosie the Riveter she is a strong woman, flexing her bicep while pulling up her sleeve and looking straight at the viewer with a blunt face and her brown hair tied back into the cute red and white head band. The women is not smiling but she has a look of power and strength on her face. She is shown as a strong independent woman to convince the women of working age to go to these wartime jobs where they were needed.
The colors in the ‘We Can Do It!’ poster are simple but appealing. The bold and bright colors draw the eye to the poster. The red polka dot scarf ties back her hair practical for industrial work. As a warm toned color, the yellow background contrasts nicely with the other colors on the poster, making the poster easy to spot from further away. Yellow is often associated with happy optimistic emotions, which therefore promotes confidence and positivity. In contrast, blue is known as quite a calming and relaxing color. The red then appears as a slightly more enthusiastic and stands out nicely.
The viewer’s eyes are first drawn to the woman’s face, then to her powerful arm, then following the arm up to the text. Rosie is standing on the left and her arm takes up the right side which creates asymmetry. There is one slogan on the poster on the poster. The slogan reads “We Can Do It!”, the text is right at the top of the poster in big bold white letters. This was to say that all housewives were very able to join all these careers that they were needed in. The text is easy to read and would be able to be seen from a distance.
We all know it, the bright yellow poster with a strong woman in work clothes and cute red scarf, encouraging her fellow ladies to join her in the war effort, because “They Can Do It” and they could do it and did it, but not thanks to this poster. This poster never really became big until after World War II had finished.