Symbols matter. Symbols are powerful. And how we choose to use symbols says a lot about us as a people. It takes very little effort to learn just a little bit about why Confederate monuments are seriously problematic and should be removed. There is no “other side” that can even be considered respectable. The symbols of slavery, oppression, hate, and racism should never be celebrated. It does seem, at this moment, we are collectively setting out to fix that wrong. We shouldn’t let up.
It can be tempting to try to have everything figured out before you start to design. Or to talk it all through until there’s nothing more to discuss. And then everything will work itself out. This is, in my experience, quite preposterous. I’m not saying to go in without a plan. But when it comes to design, the only way to really get it done is to just get in there and do it. Get after it, go down the rabbit hole, get lost in tangents, and when it all needs to get pulled together, then use your blood, sweat, and tears to pull it all together. Goddamn it, this is how shit gets done! It doesn’t get done by talking, wishing, looking, contemplating, emailing, texting, slacking, or whatever else we do to put off the doing. Especially not going to another meeting. Never has that ever worked. To get the design work done, you simply have to do the design work. End of story.
Given all the cultural, political, social, and other commentary we find ourselves being encircled by, I’m currently most amazed with:
All the shit talking about the new Arcade Fire album, especially if you thought Reflektor was great. Don Jr. being seen as a boy and all black boys shot by police are considered scary men by the media. Why she didn’t just use all the dragons. Conservatives in creative (and tech) positions being all pissed off because their outmoded worldview isn’t being “heard.” Emails to & from people I regularly correspond with all of a sudden go into the spam folder. The “new” slogans the Democrats came up with. What passes for legitimate news sources these days. And what’s labeled “Fake News.”
I’m just amazed by these things. Not in a good way. Please mark it down for the record.
Here we are in the middle of a raucous 2017 and the next iteration of the Power to the Poster project has just launched. We took the most powerful, most compelling posters created since Election 2016, according to us, and built a website around them. Graphic design in its purest form, the poster, on display for the Resistance Age.
While the urgent, visceral emotions and reactions to the results of Election 2016 would’ve been put to better use in the actual election itself, those emotions and reactions have been amazing to see nonetheless. In America, there’s only so much bullshit a thoughtful, well-informed person can take before you decide it’s time to jump in and fight like hell.
As thoughtful, well-informed Americans who draw lines in the sand when it comes to truth, inclusivity, and overall progress come out en masse to rally, march, and protest, the burning fire of activism starts to overtake the feelings of defeat. Yes we lost, and to the victors who think they hold the torch of American direction, we’re coming for you.
It will be a long game. There will be setbacks. This “resistance” will need to shift to full on “opposition” at some point. (Democrats! Where you at?) And the purists will need to be okay with not getting 100% of everything because this is politics. The game of leading, compromising, and holding the line.
This is America. Diverse and beautiful, intolerant and fucked up. A place of dreams and nightmares. A full-spectrum citizenry of half-participation, almost constant hyperbole, and a political national discourse that does not serve us well. The way we as Americans sort of, sometimes, do the right thing and the way we go about it has done okay for us in the last couple decades. But moving forward, our previous methods won’t be enough. That’s for damn sure.
Given where we’re at, with the party of closed-minds running the government, there’s a clear before and after. Where we were before Trump became President. And after. There was a certain quality to the reality during the Obama administration. Especially in its twilight. We had made it. It was, in even mild terms, a success.
Big, medium, and small things accomplished. Without a single major (or even minor) scandal. And the torch was being passed to a Democratic successor who would lock in a good amount of things that could be undone by another political party. And then, in the most unexpected, cruelest of ways, the other political party won the day. The form the win took was in a vile human being spewing forth a view of reality that makes the thoughtful, well-formed among us cringe and hold our loved ones close. This reality is what we must deal with.
And now, graphic design.
Copy and pasted from JoeSparano.com (because I agree with it):
Hunter S. Thompson on goals — “The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important.… [B]eware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life.”
This is true for virtually all articles posted on the Internet. Pretty much all Facebook posts. And Twitter? Well, Twitter...
Today in modern society everybody has an opinion about everything. Seem like by default. Whether they should or not. And while criticism is good to receive, comments on the Internet are not. Comments are a different thing. Mostly I consider them disqualified communication because they’re lazy. Snarky, dickish, mean, sarcastic, etc. But mostly, they don’t count because they are lazy.
I used to be in the camp of all dialogue is good dialogue. Comments makes the original post better. The Internet is the great unifier for all types of discourse. I don’t think that anymore. Sometimes there are shining exceptions. But today, a Don’t Read The Comments mantra is the best way to carry oneself online.