From a showcase of beauty to a plea of change, a call to protection to a message of hope, this week’s featured designs in Graphis’ Protest Posters 2 competition are all about nature — both earthly and human.
“Humanity and Nature” (above, left) was designed by Hajime Tsushima from Tsushima Design for the 4th Hebei Tourism Industry Development Conference of Shijiazhuang. The conference took place in Shijiazhuang in China from October 14-16, 2019, where the “Hebei in World’s View” International Poster Exhibition was also held. The theme of the exhibition was “Hebei and Hebei,” with “Humanities and Nature” as the core content, and aimed to showcase Hebei’s unique and profound cultural traditions as well as the rhythm and natural scenery of the province. To capture this, Tsushima worked with various graphic designers from around the world. The poster shows people being born and raised from the wilderness of Hebei; the designers wished to express the birth of mankind and the heartbeat of the fetus with the shape of a heart. The waves, meanwhile, represent the strength of nature and disasters, as well as the magnificent Hebei scenery. The poster was successfully shown in the exhibition, where it was enjoyed by all who attended the event.
Next is “#USAUNDERFIRE” (above, right), created by Patricia McElroyand Dermot Mac Cormack. The husband and wife duo founded their own visual design studio, 21xdesign, in Pennsylvania in 1997, where they specialize in branding, printed material, websites, and interactive experiences. The couple was compelled by the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando to make a poster that would bring attention to gun control and the role guns play in these tragic events. McElroy and Cormack knew they wanted to feature an American flag, and went through many iterations, from illustration to photo recreations. One day, came across a cardboard box that contained a small, old weathered flag and immediately knew they wanted to use it. Rainbow colors were photoshopped in along with bullet holes to complete the poster. While the typography is minimal, it’s a powerful reminder of both the poster’s purpose as well as the time and location of the tragedy. The finished result speaks directly to the Pulse shooting while also asking a fundamental question about sensible gun control.
In 2017, President Trump announced his plan to dramatically reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah — Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. This plan was the largest rollback of protected lands in American history, and the decision also undermined the integrity of the Antiquities Act, which has been used to designate and protect national monuments for over 110 years. In protest, Mexican designer Jean-Paul Krammer created “Protect Public Lands” (above, left), a self-initiated series of posters to encourage the public to “protect, save, and respect America’s public lands.” To accomplish this, Krammer wanted to show a unified symbol of different public lands. The resulting posters are topographic maps in the shape of different animals, including the buffalo. For Krammer, “this animal is beautiful and represents not only the wilderness in the U.S. but also U.S. history.” The accompanying color palette provides the final link to nature, using different shades of green, brown, blue, and sepia.
“Love Harmonizes Life” (above, right) was designed by Chris Corneal. Corneal is an associate professor of graphic design in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design at Michigan State University. In addition to his teaching duties, Corneal also serves as the faculty advisor for the Design Center and the director of Graphic Design Internships. He received his BFA in graphic design from Western Kentucky University and his MFA in graphic design from the University of Memphis. His design was self-commissioned and self-promotional in order to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Though it’s relatively simple, it’s effective in its message; through the use of an inspirational quote from King himself, Corneal developed his poster using “expressive, but clearly communicated” typography. The design was also entered into Graphis’ Design Annual 2019 and Poster Annual 2020 competitions, where it earned two Silver awards.
For more on these designs and designers, as well as other submissions, be sure to check out all the entries in our Protest Posters 2competition.