Thanking Heroes & BLOCK and BLACK: Design Annual 2022 Entries

This week, join Graphis in thanking the often unsung essential workers of the COVID-19 pandemic, then travel to Tokyo for a revolutionary exhibition using the simplest of shapes. It’s this week’s Design Annual 2022 entries!

Our first featured design praises a group of people who often work tirelessly in the background: essential workers. Gabriel Escobar and Kevin Greenblat’sThank You COVID-19 Heroes” (above) highlights the hard work of lab technicians, garbage collectors, bus drivers, and more in a bright, comic-inspired ad campaign. Escobar and Greenblat are part of the Sherry Matthews Group in Austin, Texas, and were commissioned by the New York City Health Department. As the COVID-19 pandemic raged through New York City in the spring of 2020, the Health Department worked tirelessly to stop the spread. During the first wave—and throughout 2020—frontline workers in healthcare and many other fields heroically treated the sick and kept New York running. In addition to delivering public health information to New Yorkers, the Health Department wanted to show appreciation for the most vulnerable frontline workers.

Escobar and Greenblat were inspired by the risks so many diverse essential workers took every day. The heroes appeared on billboards, digital ads, train station ads, hand-painted building murals, and newspaper ads. The ad campaign launched in July, and Escobar and Greenblat’s work not only lifted the spirits of New York City’s essential workers, but also cheered on the Health Department as they managed policies, programs, communications, and other coordinated efforts throughout 2020. In addition to the ads, the Health Department also commissioned a few additional portraits of their own individual heroes.

Next up is “BLOCK and BLACK” designed by Atsushi Ishiguro of OUWN in Tokyo, Japan. BLACK & BLOCK is an exhibition of artwork that depicts human behavior through large and small blocks. The concept was thought of by Ishiguro, who is the founder, creative director, and art director of OUWN. The blocks are featured on posters, packages, and more; using these tools, the entire project was done in a monochrome tone to “give the impression of a block” and designed in a way that allowed visitors to enjoy the exhibition outside of the exhibits themselves. The use of black and white drew the attention of many who were not familiar with the works at the exhibition, and while the company did not focus specifically on their shopping bags, they were surprised and delighted to find that many visitors had opted to purchase them. The exhibition was overall filled with happiness and excitement, with people both coming and leaving with smiles on their faces.

Be sure to head over to Graphis’ main website to check out these and other designs in our Design Annual 2022 competition.

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