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Protest-in-Brazil | Credit: Charles Albert Sholl
“This has been a politically volatile decade,” Roberts says. “The global financial crash of 2008 and its aftermath have shaken people’s confidence in the prevailing order, and the political landscape is increasingly polarized between left- and right-wing agendas, with the reaction against the establishment culminating in the surprise results of the Brexit referendum and the 2016 U.S. election.”
The exhibition is divided into three different sections: Power, Protest and Personality. The Power section looks into how governments show their authority through a kind of iconography and graphic design, which is often subverted by activists and opponents. There are images of propaganda from North Korea, images from the “I’m With Her” campaign for Hillary Clinton, as well as Soviet posters that were turned into a gay rights campaign. There is also a flag designed by American artist Dread Scott, which was used to support the Black Lives Matter movement. A sculpture in the show from 2008 marks Kosovo’s independence from Serbia, the giant letter ‘N’ signifying the word “Newborn.”
Je Suis Charlie banner outside Palais de Tokyo | Credit: Paul SKG
The exhibition’s Protest section includes graphic design by activists, like newspapers from the Occupy London camp from 2011, actual umbrellas used during from Hong Kong’s umbrella revolution, and fabric posters from the Je Suis Charlie and Peace for Paris marches from 2015. All in all, they highlight how graphic design has been used as a tool for solidarity.
In the Personality section, the design shows how political figures have used design for branding, like in Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign, in which he put his name on a Nike T-shirt, or Trump’s trademark caricatures (highlighting his hair) that have been featured on more than 50 magazine covers this past year. There is also a Guy Fawkes mask, which represents the Anonymous hacktivist movement. “Originally drawn by David Lloyd for the V for Vendetta graphic novel, the mask has evolved into a symbol of resistance worldwide,” Roberts says.
(left) Corbyn swoosh | Credit: Bristol Street War; (right) Corbyn Dabbing | Credit: Reuben Dangoor
Occupy Wall-Street 2011 | Credit: David E. Cooley
Occupy Wall-Street | Credit: Jason Lester
(left) International Women’s Day | Credit: Steve Rapport; (right) The New Yorker | Credit: David Plunkert
It gets nasty in the 2017 section, where a magazine cover for The New Yorker shows Donald Trump sitting in a boat with a Ku Klux Klan sail. There’s also a “Hope to Hate” poster placard from the Women’s March on Washington from last year. One memorable highlight from the Occupy Wall Street movement protests includes a man wearing a spray-painted T-shirt reading, “I am the 99%.”
“Fuelling these events has been an extraordinary proliferation of graphic messages,” Roberts says. “People are more politically engaged than they have been for years, and the rise of social media has meant that they can disseminate political iconography as never before.”
“Remain” campaign | Credit: Britain Stronger In Europe
Oregon Anti-Trump Rally, January 2017 | Credit: Scott Wong
Images courtesy of the Design Museum, London
The advantages of winning PRINT’s RDA stretch far beyond national recognition. Take a look at the career-boosting prizes up for grabs:
- All winners will see their work in Print’s 365 Days of Design Inspiration, a gorgeous hardcover book showcasing the best from today’s leading art directors, studios and creative professionals.
- Six entries will be spotlighted as “Best of Region” winners, and receive in-depth coverage within the book.
- The Grand Prize Winner will receive a Big Ticket to HOW Design Live, a main-stage trophy presentation celebrating their work, and other exclusive opportunities on-site, including a lunch date with a HOW Design Live speaker of their choice* (*pending speaker availability), and an invitation to the official Speaker Reception with industry movers and shakers at HOW Design Live.