This article presents the results of an analysis of 315 election posters produced in the 27 member states by 110 parties which gained at least two seats in the 2009 European Parliament (EP) elections. These materials are part of a larger archive comprising 414 posters by 144 political parties (accessible online at http://www.compol.it/europa-manifesti).
The main aim of the study - which focused on both visual and textual aspects - was to assess the similarities/differences in linguistic codes and iconographic-symbolical repertoires across European posters. Notwithstanding the growing role of new forms of political communication and new media the study highlights a widespread and significant use of traditional political propaganda, such as posters. In terms of substantive results, the poster analysis pointed to similar trends both visually and textually: Marked personalization, reduced relevance of ideological appeals and an increase in styles and rhetorical models clearly borrowed from advertisements. Moreover, cross-national analysis revealed different uses of posters between new and old member states, particularly as regards appeals to the idea of Europe and the nation while, according to cross-party analysis, «marginal» parties (especially anti-European parties and those of the populist right) display aggressive and unconventional communication, based upon a specific political symbology.