Politics in Iran

As Iranians face a political crisis, it is a propitious time to celebrate an extraordinary design magazine published in Tehran, titled Neshan. Its stated goal is “ameliorating ties between the graphic designers of Iran, Asia and all parts of the world.” In so doing, its editors have reached out to many of us in the west for contributions. During this Iranian electoral season, and prior to the unsettling results, Neshan published an issue devoted to politics. Articles include an overview of political design in Iran, from which this is an excerpt:

With the publication of newspapers and magazines, political graphics
were also born in Iran. . . After several years, political graphics in Iran found a new
niche in the 1950s. Certainly, the special circumstances of that
period affected this rebirth; the presence of leftist and rightist
parties and enthusiasts of political ideologies, the supporters and
opponents of the nationalized oil industry, the Shah’s opponents, etc.
The walls, posters, advertisements and the press displayed a new face
of Iran’s political graphics
.

And the state of current political communications, from which this comes:

The favorite Iranian means of communication are words especially in the
form of poetry or in the more general sense rhythmic words even in the
most day to day and popular grounds of communication. By the same token
on walls too, as the most conventional and accessible ‘surface’ for
transfer of message, words and writings appear almost exclusively with
rare imagery mostly in the least functional form (i.e. faces of
election candidates). Besides the many fundamental social and
historical factors, this inherent reason has played a significant role
in limiting the domain, effect and extent of political graphics, which
is inevitably and by definition mainly visual
.

Read these stories and view other issues of Neshan (covers below) here. Our hearts go out to the Iranian people at this critical juncture.

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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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