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.