Graphic Design in the era of Political Woke-ness
Regardless of your Political affiliation, it’s pretty incredible how much art, design and social media have become a part of our culture. Today, I wanted to take a second to recognize how GRAPHIC DESIGN isn’t going anywhere, people!
In the News:
If you’re like me, you probably watched election results come in on television last night. What was most striking about what I saw was the overwhelming amount of infographics on screen, whether it be ‘augmented reality’ graphics to look like large scale projection, oversized touchscreens for newscasters to manipulate or bar graphs and checklists that felt almost like a video game console than actual news reporting.
What I thought of most in all of this was that each of these news casts has a complete design team that is finding the best way to visually represent all of this data coming in in REAL TIME. Woah. 🤯
I found a few articles that talk about the impact and future of design in news media that I thought shed an interesting light on how to visually represent data in broadcast media:
On Social Media:
There’s no doubt that social media has had a profound impact on politics. The New York Times collected data that pretty much says, Instagram is for Democrats and Facebook is for Republicans (a bold statement) but one that I find to be SO FASCINATING… and it kind of makes a lot of sense. What Instagram has created as far as a brand that accepts, encourages and thrives in creativity is so closely tied to what they provide as a platform: a place for visuals to thrive, that it is no coincidence that creatives flock to it.
As a creator myself, I LOVED the hype and the messaging around the midterm elections, and particularly love how creators have taken to the platform to share their words of encouragement, illustrations, calls to action and straight up creativity surrounding this moment in history. Here’s a around up of some of my favorites from yesterday/this last week:
You’d pretty much have to be living under a rock to miss Instagram’s “I Voted” stories sticker. (But if you are under that rock, read Mashabe’s Instagram adds I Voted Sticker to Stories). At it’s peak, this sticker was seeing OVER 1,000 USES PER MINUTE reports Teen Vogue. But beyond being just an embellishment, users could tap the sticker to see their closest polling place on election day.
All stories that used the sticker were added to the “We Voted” Highlight, which was accessible all day yesterday as well. Snapchat got in on the election hype as well, adding snapchat filters with patriotic themes and messaging.
With Actual Stickers:
Print design had its moment too! We also saw a good amount of variance in the design of the “I Voted” sticker that you can pick up at your local polling location. See The Mercury New’s Which “I Voted” Sticker is the Best? Although communicating the same messaging (“I Voted”) the size, shape, colors, fonts and styles varied from sticker to sticker creatinga sense of community in places like New York City, which incorporated subway iconography and it’s own hashtag into their voting sticker #votenyc. Read more: HuffPost’s 'I Voted' Stickers Are The Biggest Celebrity Accessory On Instagram
Lastly, fashion definitely got a piece of the election pie. Since the 2016 presidential election, I have seen a major uptick in the number of graphic tees with inspirational, motivational, and statement making illustrations.
One of my favorite Graphic Designer/Fashion Designers is Dazey LA. Her graphic tees (and whole online shop) uses artwork that “ties back into (our) mission to empower women.”
What I love most about the blend fo fashion and politics is the opportunity to make a statement with our clothing, but also to create a brand instead of just a business. The Dazey LA brand, (and many others who are doing similar work) speaks to a higher mission of empowering women, through self care, encourging them to use their voice or creating conversation around politically polarizing topics.
It’s no doubt that fashion and self-expression have much-to-do with our current culture. Here are some more interesting articles I found on this topic:
To wrap up all of my thoughts here, I think the purpose of this blog post is simply to take note and appreciate the remarkable effect design, specifically graphic design is having on our current social/political/cultural climate RIGHT NOW. From news, to social, to fashion, and onward, I truly believe we are at a new renaissance for design, where our thoughts, our voices, our aesthetics not only matter, but can make a TANGIBLE DIFFERENCE in our lives and the lives of others.
There is truly enough information here to write an entire dissertation on Graphic Design and Politics, but I won’t go there in this blog! The intention here is to simply acknowledge this point in history and further the conversation about the impact of graphic design.