Believing in the “New Normal”: Protest Posters 2

It’s no secret the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on our world. Yet as people get vaccinated and restrictions loosen, the question remains: what’s the “new normal”? One designer tries answering this while another calls for an end to violence, and another for transparency in voting rights. From Finland and China to Poland and Brazil, this week’s Protest Posters 2 entries leave no topic untouched.

Finnish designer and Graphis Master Kari Piippo designed our first featured entry, “Where is my vote, Russia?” (above, left). Piippo created the poster for the Golden Bee Biennale in Russia, a design competition organized by the Golden Bee Fund for Support and Development of Graphic Design, in association with the Winzavod Center for Contemporary Art and Ranepa Design School. For one competition, Golden Bee asked, “Where’s my vote, Russia?” after the Russian presidential election of 2012. Said election was filled with doubts concerning voting irregularities, which is what Piippo chose to focus on for his design. In his poster, the voting box is like a ”Potemkin village” — things are not as they look. Though the façade is seemingly perfect, Piippo’s design also questions what lies behind it. In addition to entering the design into the Golden Bee Biennale and Graphis’ competition, Piippo also entered it into the Trnava Poster Triennial in Slovakia where it won the Grand Prix.

Believe” (above, right) was created by Wu Qixin of Polygon Culture and Creation, a design company located in the Garden District of the Wuhan/Hubei area of China. The design is simple, being mainly typographical and stylized so that “LIE” is bigger than the rest of the word. The design choice was not only intentional but also made the designer’s message clear: as Qixin states, “Believing lies is also a kind of belief.” With the bold. dynamic typography set against a bright yellow background, the poster catches viewers’ eyes straight away.

Next up is “Stop Violence” (above, left), designed by Katarzyna Zapart for a Stop Violence Exhibition. Zapart, who’s originally from Poland, now resides in Barcelona, Spain, and is a freelance designer. She’s won several awards and accolades throughout her career, including a Gold award from Graphis in 2015 in our Typography 3 competition. Amongst other designs, Zapart’s stands out for its unique portrayal: she’s designed a poster against violence without any violence in it. There are no bruises, blood, or pain, and instead compares two similar shapes with contrasting effects — a knife and a feather. With her poster, Zapart makes a simple plea to halt the violence people commit against each other. Though relatively simple, the poster made a significant impact and was published and further exhibited in various places around the world.

Last but not least is “The New Abnormal” (above, right), designed by Graphis Master Marcos Minini. Minini, who’s lived and worked in Brazil all his life, was employed at various advertising and design agencies, like Lumen Design and Master Comunicação, before opening his own studio in August 2018. He designed this poster for “Posterdemic,” a project that aims to discuss the realities of the post-pandemic world. The project is still in its beginning stages, much like post-pandemic reality, and this poster is the first that Minini has designed for it. His wanted to show that there’s no “new normal,” and that the only “normal” thing we can do is live and relate to each other as we always have: collectively and freely.

For more on these designs and the amazingly talented designers behind them, be sure to check out more entries in our Protest Posters 2 competition.

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