When it comes to subject matter for designs, posters can express a variety of different ideas with a multitude of different styles. Is it any wonder why something so versatile is so popular? In this week’s blog post, we look back on some stylish Silver winners and some thought-provoking new entries.
Originally submitted to Graphis’ Designers for Peace poster competition “United with Ukraine / Designers for Peace” (above, left) was designed by Portuguese designer and Graphis Master João Machado as a way to show support and stand in solidarity with Ukraine as the country continues to face Russian forces. A black tank points its piked nose to the sky, where it sets off paintball-like explosions in Ukraine’s colors. Various shades of blue and yellow are also splotched on the tank, showing it’s been hit by fallout from its own attacks or another tank. Between the color palette and the paint splatters, the poster is almost playful, though that feeling is ruined by the bit of blog red hidden behind one splatter that hints at how this conflict isn’t a game. Indeed, although the tank’s nose is pointed upward, its lights point right at the viewer, almost breaking the fourth wall and creating a sense of urgency to move before the tank plows you over.
Taking a break from our current competition, let’s look back at a 2023 Silver-winning poster by Byoung il Sun. The piece, “Fake News” (above, right), Fake news is a serious social problem. It is a concept with a message that illegal activities of spreading and sharing fake news can ruin our lives. A woman’s face superimposed on a sheet of crumpled-up newspaper full of headlines featuring the words “fake news.” In the upper left corner, a message reads, “We Can’t Stop Fake News From Being Made, But We Can Stop Sharing It.” Like the image, it is distorted and spread out. Working together, the words and picture are a visual and verbal metaphor in which our ordinary lives are distorted and ruined by fake news.
Another Silver-winner poster is Skolos-Wedell‘s “Studio Collective’s Annual Film Festival Poster” (above, left) for the 2020 Studio Collective’s Annual Film Festival. Studio Collective is a student organization at Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture and Design, and the film festival they host is used to increase reach to a broader audience and to promote accessibility to different areas of design. Based on the festival theme of that year, “Far From Home,” the designers captured images of shadows in front of glowing screens and a film countdown to promote the event. Details on the event’s time, location, and pricing are written in small text on the left side of the poster, while from the right the contrasting black and green sides create a reflective angular effect. The green glowing left side looks as if it was projected through the black and white layers of film.
Going back to our Poster 2024 competition, Meaghan A. Dee alludes to the Supreme Court’s recent overturning of Roe v. Wade with her poster “Vote: Keep Them Out” (above, right) for AIGA Design for Democracy. Starting in 1998, AIGA’s oldest initiative has the mission to apply design tools and thinking to increase civic participation. By making interactions between the U.S. government and its citizens more understandable, efficient, and trustworthy, designers become more vocal citizens and make democracy more sound. Dee herself was nine months pregnant with a little girl when Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court. Knowing the intensity of pregnancy first-hand and sad that her baby girl would grow up in a country where she might not have a say in what happens to her body, Dee chose to create a poster emphasizing a woman’s right to choose and how the majority of Americans support abortion in all or most cases. The United States Capitol Building sits front and center, outlined by a set of feminine legs spread open as if to give birth. The placement suggests that the U.S. government is taking advantage of women’s bodies, further supported by the text “KEEP THEM OUT”. Font choice, color palette, and off-white background create a patriotic and vintage look emphasizing the significance of political power and the right to choose.
To see more Poster 2023 winners, click here. For more information on our Poster 2024 competition and to submit your own entry, click here.