Tackling Tough Topics: Protest Posters 2 New Entries

This week’s Protest Posters 2 featured new entries from Denmark, Canada, and the US, and each entry tackles the topics of human rights, racism, and war.

The first entry, “EMP(A)T(H)Y“, was created by Denmark-based designer Rikke Hansen for the Speak Up exhibition that took place in Mexico City in 2017 (above, left). For her concept for the poster, Hansen looked at the actions of extremist groups, like Boko Haram and ISIS, and wondered how they can act like and do what they do. This lack of empathy — our tendency to care about and share other people’s emotional experiences — along with a forthcoming study that demonstrates that empathy levels have been declining over the past 30 years drove her to design a poster to create awareness of this decline and what will be left in our hearts and minds. With deep reds and violets, Hansen outlines a head-like shape and has the a and h of the word ’empathy’ falling away, symbolizing how people are at risk of becoming empty husks of human beings.

Similarly, “Prohibido Olvidar” by Canadian designer Fidel Peña was designed to support a social media campaign started by social organizations against the claim made by President Niyab Bukele of El Salvador that the civil war and peace accords were a farce (above, right). The campaign asked people to share their personal memories from the war via Twitter. Consequently, Peña selected a number of the most personal, touching tweets and printed them on this poster with the phrase from the campaign, “Prohibido Olvidar SV” (“Never Forget El Salvador”) mixed in with the messages. The people who shared their tweets were touched by the poster, and as a result it was widely shared across social media.

Racism, another relevant topic, was addressed in “Stop Hate” by American designer Jonathan Cumberland (above, left), who created the poster for the Stop Hate poster show. Using primary colors, viewers can see how the hand holding the bouquet of flowers is using an upside down Ku Klux Klan as a discardable paper wrap, basically saying that racism is something to throw away that people come should come together, free of hate, to enjoy what the world has to offer.

War & Peace” by US designer Justin Zhang was exhibited at the 2021 SVA Galleries Spring Show (above, right). The poster’s aim to make people aware of the danger of war subtly and avoid it. Regarding the design, Zhang used plenty of juxtaposition, ingeniously combining peaceful doves and a mushroom cloud, which lets images form in both the positive and negative space. The rich black and orange coloring is eyecatching and also represents the toxicity of war as well. The abstract design and its graphics make the poster elegant yet powerful.

To view other posters and to submit your own work, visit graphis.com.

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