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On display at V&A South Kensington
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OF - Civic Forum

Poster
1989 (designed and printed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Civic Forum was the Czech opposition movement leading the dialogue with the governing communist power. It was founded at the Prague non-conformist theatre ‘Cinoherni klub’ on the evening of the 19th of November 1989, two days after Ministry of Interior Affairs special troops made a brutal strike against a non-violent student demonstration on National Street in Prague. The student demonstration began with a meeting in the Albertov district of Prague on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Nazi persecution of Czechoslovak students who had held mass protests during the burial of Jan Opletal (a Czech student from the medical faculty of the Charles University who was shot during demonstrations against theGerman occupation of Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1939). The Albertov student meeting continued with a ‘march for democracy’ to the centre of Prague. On the way towards National Street the student demonstration was joined by other, mainly young, people demanding freedom and democracy.
The Civic Forum founders were dramatist and writer Václav Havel, Catholic priest Václav Malý, actor Petr Cepek, Charter 77 spokesman Alexander Vondra, scriptwriter Jirí Križan translator and writer Michael Žantovský (currently the Czech ambassador in London) who became the Civic Forum press officer. Civic Forum unified independent Czech democratic initiatives

This leaflet presents the Civic Forum ‘OF’ logo, designed spontaneously during first days of the student ‘velvet revolution’ by Pavel Štastný, a student of graphic design and painting at the Prague Academy of Applied Arts and Architecture – which was out on strike at the time.

His logo won a one day design competition and was chosen from many student submissions by the Coodination Committee of Civic Forum at its ‘Špalícek’ Prague centre. Pavel Štastný says ‘It was time of immediate decisions - there was no time for any marketing strategies!’ The logo in the Czech national tricolour (red, blue and white) showing an ‘O’ embracing a smiling face was a symbol of political change and a positive future.


Designed, printed and published in former Czechoslovakia


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitlePro-democracy Poster Collection (named collection)
Materials and Techniques
Offset lithograph in red and blue printed on paper
Brief Description
Anonymous poster promoting Civic Forum, designed, printed and published in former Czechoslovakia, 1989.
Physical Description
Poster promoting Obcanske Forum and publicising its official logo, the initials OF with the O drawn as a smiley face for a happier future, in red and blue on a white background. These three colours symbolise Czechoslovakia's national identity and the struggle against communism.
Dimensions
  • Maximum height: 47.0cm
  • Maximum width: 63.8cm
size of sheet
Marks and Inscriptions
Obcanske Forum (This logo, the official symbol of Civic Forum, was designed by Pavel Stastny, a student at Prague's Academy of Applied Arts. It is unknown whether he designed the poster itself.)
Credit line
Given by Zdenek Kavan
Production
Pavel Stastny designed the Civic Forum logo, but it is not known whether he designed the poster itself.



Designed, printed and published in former Czechoslovakia



Reason For Production: Commission
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Summary
Civic Forum was the Czech opposition movement leading the dialogue with the governing communist power. It was founded at the Prague non-conformist theatre ‘Cinoherni klub’ on the evening of the 19th of November 1989, two days after Ministry of Interior Affairs special troops made a brutal strike against a non-violent student demonstration on National Street in Prague. The student demonstration began with a meeting in the Albertov district of Prague on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Nazi persecution of Czechoslovak students who had held mass protests during the burial of Jan Opletal (a Czech student from the medical faculty of the Charles University who was shot during demonstrations against theGerman occupation of Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1939). The Albertov student meeting continued with a ‘march for democracy’ to the centre of Prague. On the way towards National Street the student demonstration was joined by other, mainly young, people demanding freedom and democracy.

The Civic Forum founders were dramatist and writer Václav Havel, Catholic priest Václav Malý, actor Petr Cepek, Charter 77 spokesman Alexander Vondra, scriptwriter Jirí Križan translator and writer Michael Žantovský (currently the Czech ambassador in London) who became the Civic Forum press officer. Civic Forum unified independent Czech democratic initiatives



This leaflet presents the Civic Forum ‘OF’ logo, designed spontaneously during first days of the student ‘velvet revolution’ by Pavel Štastný, a student of graphic design and painting at the Prague Academy of Applied Arts and Architecture – which was out on strike at the time.



His logo won a one day design competition and was chosen from many student submissions by the Coodination Committee of Civic Forum at its ‘Špalícek’ Prague centre. Pavel Štastný says ‘It was time of immediate decisions - there was no time for any marketing strategies!’ The logo in the Czech national tricolour (red, blue and white) showing an ‘O’ embracing a smiling face was a symbol of political change and a positive future.





Designed, printed and published in former Czechoslovakia
Collection
Accession Number
E.18-1991

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record createdJanuary 25, 2006
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