It's difficult to stay neutral during this pandemic-election season. To those who say politics is no place for designers, think again. Mike Diehl is a graphic designer who has worked independently for most of his career. With a background in advertising, he now works in many facets of design, including branding, packaging, publication and the web, primarily for clients in the creative arts.
Dave Hackel, meanwhile, spent almost 30 years writing and producing network television comedies. Now retired, he’s currently an aspiring painter and an unbelievably horrified political observer. To convert this energy and horror into positive action, the pair have been developing a meme campaign to get out the vote. I asked them to tell us about the cause and impact of their work.
What is your goal in producing these pieces?That so many people didn’t bother to cast ballots in 2016 has always been tremendously upsetting, so we wanted to do something—anything—to help get a larger voter turnout in November.An idea emerged to do a series of ads which contrast good and bad choices about the environment, renewable energy, immigration, voting rights, etc. Each one presents what we feel are obvious moral choices that voters will be making when they cast their ballots not only for president, but down-ballot, as well. Polls on nearly every issue we address confirm that a significant majority of Americans believe as we do, so our hope is to encourage them to act on those beliefs, putting their values ahead of party affiliation.
Our hope was to remind people that their opinions matter, and that voting is the most important way to make themselves heard.
Where are they running?The ads are on Twitter, primarily. We’ve been given a huge boost there by Al Franken, who retweets all of our posts and has significantly increased our page views. They’re also available on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
How many variations are in the works?The ever-changing news cycle presents us with new topics every day, but we already have enough finished material to publish a couple a week right up to Nov. 3.
Have you had any response, negative or otherwise?Our friends and followers on social media respond favorably to the campaign, not surprisingly. But to a wider audience, many of the ads are structured to offer what we think are inarguable choices—clean air over pollution, hope over fear, etc., so most of the feedback we’ve received has been positive. The ads that are more controversial or partisan, however, have awakened a few people who disagree, and they’ve not been hesitant to avail themselves of the comment sections.