Design Activism


In Steven Heller’s recent essay featured on Design Observer, “America’s Big Design Problem,” he discusses how now, more than ever, designers must be progressive thinkers and makers. While some feel design should not politicize, many feel that taking a stand for one’s point of view is exactly what design is meant to do.

RESIST!” is a publication on the theme of political resistance to the forces of intolerance. It will be published as a special issue of Gabe Fowler’s tabloid newspaper, Smoke Signal30,000 copies will be distributed for free on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017, in Washington D.C. Further distribution will occur at the Women’s March on January 21st and throughout the United States. They are still accepting submissions for the newspaper on the theme of NOT OUR PRESIDENT. The deadline looms close though. You can still submit and view others’ submissions online.

In the video, “What is art for?” philosopher Alain de Botton gives his top five reasons why art is such a vital force for humanity—a force that stands up for the best side of human nature. The last one on his list is propaganda. Designers are born propagandists, trained in the art of persuasion. As Heller asserts, now is the time to dig even deeper—designing alternative streams for credible information—and making propaganda designed to bring out the best side of human nature.

As our President-elect continues to build his new administration and choose cabinet members like Scott Pruitt—a climate change denialist for the E.P.A—it is more important now than ever to take a stand. As Heller states, before these political transformations become locked in stone.


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