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

As printers and publishers were placed under the control of Soviet military commands during the Russian Civil War, some command centers printed their own posters. This publisher's mark reads: "Publication of The Agitation-Education Department at the Yekaterinoslav Regional Military Commissariat". The image was taken from PP 259 in the Collection. It's an example of a mark from 1919-1920.

State Publishing House Petrograd-Moscow, 1919 (Государственное издательство москва-петроград) // Gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo moskva-petrograd.

The design of this publishing mark is attributed to the artist L. Friedberg. It is from PP 387 in the Collection.

Publishing house of the Petrograd Soviet, Petrograd, 1920. (Издательство петроградского совета) // Izdatel'stvo petrogradskogo soveta

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. It produced political material (including posters), publications on women's issues and, anti-religious ephemera. It published the newspapers Izvestia (Spark), Krasnaya Gazeta (Red Gazette), and the periodical Plamia (Flame). In 1919, the publishing house reorganized as Petrogosizdat and in 1924, it was renamed Lengosizdat (A.K.A. Lengiz), reflecting Petrograd (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. The mark here is from PP 323 in the Collection and it is attributed to the artist L. Friedberg.

Knigospilka (All-Ukrainian Cooperative Book Merchandising and Publishing Union)

In Ukraine 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 was Knigospilka, the All-Ukrainian Cooperative Book Merchandising and Publishing Union. It was founded in the city of Kharkov. After 1922, Knigospilka created publications on the cooperative movement and literature concerning agriculture. This image comes from poster PP 393 in the Collection. It is a poster specific to the rural cooperative movement.

GIZ (Государственное издательство, РСФСР) // Gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo, RSFSR, circa 1928.

State Publishing House of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR), Leningrad-Moscow was known by its acronym,"GIZ". It was the first major publisher organized in accordance with the Regulations of the Central Executive Committee in May 1919 that created a single, state-controlled institution for printing. Books as well as posters were published under the GIZ banner. This image comes from the website

OGIZ (oбъединение государственных книжно-журнальных издательств) // ob"edinenie gosudarstvennykh knizhno-zhurnal'nykh izdatel'stv, 1930.

OGIZ was established in 1930 by the Sovnarkom (Council of People's Commissars) to centralize publishing operated by the Soviet Union. Aside from centralization, OGIZ eliminated overlap and duplication of printed products. OGIZ also compartmentalized the publishing sector. For example, all posters, art magazines and artistic books were placed under the "fine arts" section of OGIZ known as IZOGIZ (Izobrazitel'noe iskusstvo). Other sections were educational and pedagogical (Uchpedgiz); socio-economics (Sotsekgiz); mass-politics (Masspartgiz); scientific and technical (Gostekhizdat); agricultural news (Sel'khozgiz); laws and codes (Yurizdat); health (Medizdat); children's themes (Detyunizdat); music (Muzgiz), and dictionaries and encyclopedias. Overseeing OGIZ 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 printing and publishing of vocational school books and a research institute, all were placed under the OGIZ banner.

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

IZOGIZ // Государственное издательство изобразительного искусства; ИЗОГИЗ // Gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo izobrazitel'nogo iskusstva

As explained in the OGIZ description, IZOGIZ was its fine arts section created in 1931. This mark from 1959 demonstrates the distinction used on publications (in this case, a poster) produced by OGIZ under its IZOGIZ banner. In 1963, IZOGIZ was re-named "Soviet Artist" (Sovetskii khudozhnik). The image is taken from PP 272 in the Collection.

Art Publishing House (A.K.A. Visual Arts Publishing) // Искусство // Iskusstvo

Iskusstvo publishing was created out of Ogiz-Izogiz in 1936 and it was part of the State Printing Works in Leningrad and Moscow. The Iskusstvo banner published books on graphic design, the fine arts and it published numerous posters. This mark is from PP 079 in the Collection and the design is typical for an Iskusstvo heading on posters from the immediate post-war period.

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

This example of a publisher's chop mark comes from a poster titled "Everything for the Miner!", designed by Ivan Simakov, whose biography can be seen on this website. The publisher's mark indicates the poster was issued by the Agitational Publishing Department of Glavkomtrud and Narkomtrud (abbreviated Russian: Агит-изд. Отд. Г.К.Т. и Н.К.Т.). Glavkomtrud was the Central Committee on Universal Compulsory Labor and Narkomtrud was the People's Commissariat of Labor. In addition to the poster design, Simakov likely designed this chop mark, seen on PP 677 in the Collection.

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

This publisher's chop mark shows a crest of the Soviet Union with the hammer and plow motif thereby suggesting the design was prior to August 1918. Inside the mark it reads, "Department of the publishing house of the political administration of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic." According to author Jeffrey Brooks in his book, "When Russia Learned to Read", Litizdat was a major organization for poster production under 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. The 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.