Poster Plakat A Collection of Posters from the Soviet Union and its Satellite Nations

Soviet Publishing and Printing Marks

After the artist produced their maquette, the poster's preliminary sketch, it was sent to the publisher and to the censorship bureau for approvals. If the design was approved by the censor and editors, the printer prepared the poster for production. In the Soviet Union, millions of posters were produced by the government from 1917 to 1991, so the publisher and the printer were both critical to poster production and output.

Printers often used a symbol (called a chop) to distinguish where the poster was produced. Below you can view a collection of Soviet-era publishing and printing marks taken from selected posters in the Poster Plakat Collection.


Publication of the Agitation-Education Department at the Yekaterinoslav Regional Military Commissariat // Издание Агитационно-просветительнагого отдела пири Екатеринославском Губернск. Комиссар. по Военным Делам // Izdanie agitatsionno-prosvetitel'nagogo otdela piri ekaterinoslavskom gubernsk. Komissar. Po voennym delam. Mark image circa 1919

Prior to nationalization of the printing and publishing industries in Imperial Russia by the Bolsheviks, Red Army commands during the Russian Civil War would print their own posters by commandeering privately-owned printing houses. This mark reads "Publication of the Agitation-Education Department at the Yekaterinoslav Regional Military Commissariat". This indicates the poster was produced under the aegis of a Red Army command and that its distribution was likely confined to the area of what is today Dnipro, Ukraine. This publication mark was taken from PP 259 in the Collection.

State Publishing House Petrograd-Moscow // Государственное издательство москва-петроград // Gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo moskva-petrograd. Mark image circa 1919

The State Publishing House had its origins in Imperial Russia as the Royal Print Yard (Печатный двор) or, Pechatnyi dvor. The Soviets nationalized it in 1917. This publisher's mark is one of the early designs (from 1919) used by the State-controlled house. The design of the chop mark is attributed to the graphic artist L. Friedberg and it comes from PP 387 in the Collection.

Publishing House of the Petrograd Soviet // Издательство петроградского совета // Izdatel'stvo petrogradskogo soveta. Mark image from 1920

The Publishing House of the Petrograd Soviet was formed in the winter of 1917 by the Literary and Publishing Department of People's Commissariat for Education. The house produced political material (including posters), publications on women's issues and anti-religious ephemera. It also published the newspapers Izvestia (Spark), Krasnaya Gazeta (Red Gazette), and the periodical Plamia (Flame). In 1919, the house reorganized as Petrogosizdat and in 1924, it was renamed Lengosizdat (A.K.A. Lengiz), reflecting the city of St. Petersburg being changed to Leningrad, in honor of Vladimir Lenin. By the 1960s, Leningrad was one of the largest centers of publishing in the USSR. This publishing mark is from PP 323 in the Collection and its design is attributed to the artist L. Friedberg.

Knigospilka // Всеукраинский кооперативный книжно-издательский союз; Книгоспiлка // Vseukrainskii kooperativnyi knizhno-izdatel'skii soiuz; Knigospilka. Mark image circa 1922

During the early period of the Russian Revolution, publishing and printing entities helped circulate literature and propaganda for the Bolshevik's cause. One such entity from Kharkov, Ukraine was Knigospilka, the All-Ukrainian Cooperative Book Merchandising and Publishing Union. After 1922, Knigospilka created publications on the cooperative movement along with informational literature about agriculture. This mark is on poster PP 393 in the Collection, a poster specific to the rural cooperative movement.

Gosizdat // Государственное издательство, РСФСР; Госиздат // Gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo, RSFSR; Gosizdat. Mark image circa 1928

Gosizdat (A.K.A. Giz) was the State Publishing House of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR). Formed in May 1919, Gosizdat/Giz was the first major state-controlled publisher organized via an edict of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee to create a single institution for printing and publishing. With offices in Leningrad and Moscow, the GIZ banner published a wide array of books, posters and printed media. This image comes from the website fantlab.ru.

OGIZ // Объединение государственных книжно-журнальных издательств // ob"edinenie gosudarstvennykh knizhno-zhurnal'nykh izdatel'stv. Mark image from 1930

OGIZ was the Association of State Book and Magazine Publishers. It was established in 1930 by the Sovnarkom (Council of People's Commissars) to centralize all publishing entities in the Soviet Union. Apart from centralization, OGIZ eliminated duplication of printed products while compartmentalizing various publishing sectors. For example, posters, art magazines and artistic books were placed under its "fine arts" section known as IZOGIZ (Izobrazitel'noe iskusstvo). Other sections of OGIZ published educational and pedagogical material (Uchpedgiz); socio-economic themes (Sotsekgiz); mass-politics (Masspartgiz); scientific and technical literature (Gostekhizdat); agricultural news (Sel'khozgiz); laws and codes (Yurizdat); health (Medizdat); children's themes (Detyunizdat); music (Muzgiz), and dictionaries and encyclopedias. Overseeing these departments was Gosizdat, the State Publishing House.

In 1931, the Central Committee of the USSR ordered certain publications separated from OGIZ. This separation dealt chiefly with propaganda literature and technical manuals. Under reorganization, the Booksellers Association of State Publishers (known as KOGIZ, Knigotorgovoe ob'edinenie gosudarstvennykh izdatel'stvo) and Poligrafkiniga (the state-owned book printing trust) along with all printing and publishing of vocational school books and a research institute, were placed under the OGIZ banner.

In 1949, OGIZ functions were transferred to Glavpoligrafizdat (Main Administration for Matters of Polygraphic Industry Publishing and Book Selling). In 1954, Glavpoligrafizdat was renamed Glavizdat and all publishing, printing and bookselling became separated into three entities. This publisher's mark is from PP 337 in the Collection.

IZOGIZ // Государственное издательство изобразительного искусства; ИЗОГИЗ // Gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo izobrazitel'nogo iskusstva. Mark image from 1931

IZOGIZ was the State Publishing House of Fine Art-- the fine arts section of OGIZ created in 1930. In 1963, IZOGIZ was re-named "Soviet Artist" (Sovetskii khudozhnik). The publishing mark featured is taken from PP 197 in the Collection.

ISKUSSTVO // Государственное издательство; Искусство // Gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo. Mark image from 1946

Iskusstvo was the Art Publishing House (A.K.A. Visual Arts Publishing) that was created in 1936 from Ogiz-Izogiz. The Iskusstvo banner was part of the State Printing Works in Leningrad and Moscow and it published books on graphic design and the fine arts in addition to outputting numerous posters. This mark is from PP 079 in the Collection. Its design is typical to the Iskusstvo mark on posters from the immediate post-World War II era.


Publisher's Marks from Administrative Organizations

Soviet governmental agencies put their own publishing and printing marks on posters they created inter-departmentally. Below are a sample of various chop marks and their histories.

Agitational Publishing Department of Glavkomtrud and Narkomtrud // Агит-изд. Отд. Г.К.Т. и Н.К.Т. // Agit-izd. Otd. G.K.T. i N.K.T. (abbreviated)

This publisher's mark indicates the poster was issued by the Agitational Publishing Department of Glavkomtrud and Narkomtrud. Glavkomtrud was the Central Committee on Universal Compulsory Labor while Narkomtrud was the People's Commissariat of Labor. The mark was likely designed by Ivan Simakov as it comes from PP 677 in the Collection-- a poster he designed. Simakov's biography is also found on this website.

Literary and Publishing Department of the Political Directorate of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic; Litizdat. // Литературно-издательский отдел политического управления РСФСР; Литиздат // Literaturno-izdatel'skii otdel politicheskogo upravleniia RSFSR; Litizdat

Litizdat was a poster publisher under the aegis of the Political Directorate of the Revolutionary Military Council of Russia-- the publishing arm of the Red Army. Litizdat distributed a total of 7.5 million posters, postcards, and lubki (illustrated broadsides) between 1919 and 1922. Notice the chop mark shows the crest of the Soviet Union with a hammer and plow motif suggesting its design was created prior to August 1918 when at that point onward, the state crest was designed with the hammer and sickle motif. Inside the octagon mark it reads "Department of the publishing house of the political administration of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic." This mark comes from PP 808 in the Collection.

Publication of the Political Department of the XII Army. // Худож. Плак. Видавн. Поарм. XII // Khdozh. Plak. Vidavn. Poarm. XII

This publisher's mark was used during the Russian Civil War by the political section of a Soviet Army unit. "Proletarians of the World Unite" is seen at the top of the mark inside the scroll flourish. In the middle, in front of the sun rays, is a hammer and plow symbol with the initials RSFSR-- Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic-- formed in a semi circle. The hammer and plow motif suggests the mark's design was made before August 1918. On the book it is written, "Cultural enlightenment of the political department of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Red Army 1920." The poster was produced by the Soviet 12th Army, abbreviated on the poster as Xудож. Плак. Видавн. Поарм. XII ("Poster Artist Publication of the Political Department of the XII Army"). The mark comes from poster PP 804 in the Collection.