The Trump Baby Balloon: “A Taste of His Own Medicine”
The designer behind the Trump baby balloon wanted to give the president a taste of his own medicine
The Trump Baby balloon first took flight last month in London during President Trump’s visit to the UK and now, the 20-foot-tall blimp depicting an orange, angry president in diapers will tour Australia for Trump’s visit in November and is potentially coming to the U.S., as well.
This public art project is the brainchild of environmentalist Leo Murray, but the design is the work of graphic designer Matt Bonner, the founder of the Revolt Design agency in London, who made this hilarious inflatable cartoon of the president—which has essentially become iconic.
“I usually work with organizations motivated by social justice and environmental campaigning,” said Bonner, whose design was made possible with $35,000 in crowdfunding.
“It’s a six meter high inflatable depiction of President Trump as an angry baby, complete with a malevolent constipated grimace, orange skin, nappy-clad and a mobile phone clutched in his tiny hand,” writes Bonner. “The balloon was part of a series of protests against Trump’s first visit to the UK and tens of thousands of protestors attended and in Edinburgh the following day, where protests were also held.”
The design shows Trump as an orange baby wearing diapers and small hands, one of which is clutching a mobile phone with the Twitter blue covering the phone’s screen.
“It seemed like an appropriate symbol for someone of his temperament, and also using the language of mockery, as this is a language he understands,” said Bonner. “So we’ve given him a taste of his own medicine.”
It all started a few months back, when Trump’s London visit was announced. Bonner and his colleagues worried that there would be a complete shutdown of the streets to try and scrub away protests, so he came up with the idea “of something that would rise above the streets and really stand out,” he said.
For the design, Bonner decided on a two-tone skin tone with a more orange face than the body, but says he wanted to keep it simple. “The hand clutching the phone is the most complex bit,” said Bonner.
He started designing it on Adobe Illustrator in 2D concept designs, where Trump was at first in tears, but then scratched that idea, saying he didn’t want to sympathize with the president. Bonner colored Trump’s face in Pantone 715C, which is a redder shade of orange than the rest of the body, which is in Pantone 1375C.
After honing a few sketches and fleshing out a 3D version of his design, he realized it was more than a joke. “It’s actually a really effective form of protest,” said Bonner. “It’s really speaking to people and we don’t welcome him here. I’m all about design as an agent of change – and this is what I do, day to day. There is a powerful link between art and protest.”
After receiving a flurry of international press coverage, thousands onlookers visited the Parliament Square Gardens in London at 9.30 a.m. when the balloon was raised into the sky last month.
To control the blimp during its London debut, six people (including Bonner) dressed up as Trump Babysitters, red outfits that reference Trump’s Make America Great Again hats. They tugged on 16 ropes tied to sandbags to control the blimp’s trajectory into the sky and keep it in place for two hours in sunny weather.
In the end, Bonner hopes that the idea will continue in various forms beyond the Trump Baby blimp. “We just hope with this project, it inspires other for similar action,” he said.
The best part for Bonner? “The Trump Baby garnered worldwide media attention, with Nigel Farage calling it ‘the biggest insult to a sitting US president ever,’” said Bonner. “Donald Trump himself said of the balloon that ‘I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London.’”