The Power of Ambiguity

Posted inThe Daily Heller
Thumbnail for The Power of Ambiguity

Brad Holland‘s method for creating graphic commentary and illustration, which I was weaned on and taught when I was 17 years old and just starting my life in design and illustration, is as valid now as then (and tomorrow). Whatever the theme, whatever the image, don’t give away the message. Let it be ambiguous yet hold hypnotic allure. Make it a striking piece of art yet make it disturbing in its subtlety. The results over the years have run the gamut from surreal to real but never obscure. There is always a way in, be it a visual or textual entry point.

Holland’s recent contribution to Mirko Illic’s Tolerance Project exhibition begs the question: What is tolerance? Tolerance for some is matter-of-fact for others. This beautifully crafted poster is at once an enigma and a paradox. It is a welcome into a brotherhood and sisterhood of shared universality and a warning that all people carrying these beliefs are targets of one kind or another.

PRINT is back. And soon, we’ll be relaunching with an all-new look, all-new content and a fresh outlook for the future. Stay tuned.

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.View all posts by Steven Heller →