November 2007

The Coffee Calendar. A celebration of the culture, history, and politics of coffee by artist Ricardo Morales of the Northland Poster Collective. (via, via)  ¶
The Art of Quitting. A collaborative web site by and for cigarette smokers to post images that inspire them to quit.  ¶
Stickers v Cars. Donkey Car “In the last year alone, the most innovative display of activism has sprung from the Streetpanthers, a band of thirtysomethings who under cover of night prowl the streets of Athens slapping the vehicles of egregious parking violators with Day-Glo orange stickers depicting a donkey in a car above the message, ‘I park wherever I want.’ More than 250,000 stickers have been distributed nationwide since the group’s Web site began operation (www.streetpanthers.gr) in July.”  ¶
In the Style of Truth. Iwo JimaBy ignoring color, black-and-white photographs depict an abstract surreality — one that has become strongly associated with an iconic truthiness. In this RealAudio clip, NPR talks with Naitonal Geographic Society photographer Chris Rainier about Kodak’s black-and-white Tri-X film. Tri-X was a technical innovation that allowed faster shutter speeds so pictures could be taken without flash in a wider range of situations. “It became the film of choice for everything from fashion to combat photography.... It also has a sort of graininess to it that we all now, in the beginning in the 21st century... associate with many of the most historically important events over the last 50 years.” (via)

Wikipedia on Tri-X: “Since the advent of digital photography it has all but fallen out of use in newspaper journalism. Apart from possible use in educational establishments, it still remains reasonably popular in documentary journalism.”  ¶
Geographic Profiling. “The Los Angeles Police Department announced a mapping program used by its anti-terrorism bureau to identity likely terrorist breeding grounds in Muslim areas.”   What next, checkpoints?  ¶

Sloganeering

A year ago, I received an email from “Tony:”

“I have looked all over the web, and just can’t find the simple themes that can be posted to the back of poster board or foam board and used at street vigils. I just need simple stuff for 11 by 17 AND 8 1/2 BY 11 COPYING.

Can you help? The power of one or two people in public holding simple antiwar protest messages is great. I just can’t find anything on the net that isn’t too artsy-fartsy, or too damn pacifist-wimpy.”

I smacked into this “artsy-fartsy” factor again a few weeks ago when United for Peace and Justice asked if I could turn out some poster designs on short notice. They sent their final copy and I set to thinking about how to represent things iconographically in a beautiful, compelling way. I rummaged through the usual toolbox (coffins, dollars, boots, ribbons, etc.) as well as play with color and typographic notes (big X’s, oversized punctuation, etc.) One slogan in particular raised an interesting problem: how to graphically represent “community” for marches in eleven very different cities.

Nevertheless, over the weekend’s iteration the org requested the gradual removal of all imagery, iconography, and embellishment. I was trying to do something graphically interesting to myself, but the group had a very specific use case in mind. The posters were not intended for pasting on the street, to attract passersby with flourish, humor, or imagery. They wanted something to be carried high and read from a distance, particularly when reproduced in photos, newspaper clippings, or seconds-long TV news highlights. As such, these were props to represent the march in memory as much as in person, to disappear and punch the message through network editing and newspaper cropping. The simpler and bolder the better.

With a little more time I would have refined these further, but here are the results below. Click on a thumbnail to download a printable PDF.

>  7 November 2007, 4:32 AM | LINK | Filed in , , , , ,


On to December.
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