Images For Survival

Images For Survival 1
Designers from left to right: Minoru Morita, Yusaku Kamekura, and Hirokatsu Hijikata

It’s easy to forget that nearly 65 years ago a B-29 bomber named the Enola Gay flew over Hiroshima and dropped the atomic bomb. An estimated 70,000 died.

Throughout the 1980s, the aftermath of this day was still at the forefront of people’s minds as the world’s superpowers fought for dominance in a nuclear arms race. The resentment and fear over mankind’s future was never more apparent than in the work submitted to 1985’s Images For Survival poster exhibition.

Designer Charles Michael Helmken came up with the idea for the exhibition. And his concept was simple: “to give hundreds of the leading graphic designers from Japan and the United States an opportunity to create their own visual weapons for peace.”

According to an article that accompanied the multi-page spread in Graphis Magazine, Issue 240, the designers selected to contribute to the showcase thought the assignment was difficult. As artist Don Weller jokingly put it, “having no client is tough, because if the work is bad, there’s no one to blame but yourself.”

If there was apprehension at the outset of the project it certainly wasn’t apparent in the final product. Even 25 years later, the posters are still provocative, disquieting, and stark in their visual execution.

To read the full article, click here to purchase a PDF of Graphis Magazine Issue 240.

Images For Survival

Author: Kayla Harris for Graphis

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