Design and Politics

I think design in politics is very important because it can rally a group of people behind a specific design that has with it, an idea or concept that drives into the hearts of people. As a designer/artist myself I feel empowered by this but, also kind of worried at the same time. Design can be interpreted in many ways based on context, just like art. I’m worried that in the future a design could be interpreted in an unforeseen way by some amount of people, which could lead to confusion and distrust. The more eyes that will be on a design, the more responsibility placed on the designer and anyone involved. In general I think design will help lower the barrier of entry for political discourse, and the sharing of ideas.

One piece of political design that I find particularly interesting is the Polish solidarity logo. The logo was developed from stencil graffiti in the Gdansk shipyards. The movement that the word mark represented was born from unfair working conditions from a failing economy in Poland. The movement started out in Gdansk but soon grew to the entire nation and beyond. The solidarity logo is incredibly simplistic and informal yet, it holds immense meaning and social importance within the context of the movement and where it originated from. The logo is also extremely malleable in implementation. You could recreate it yourself to put on signs for protest as well as combine imagery with it to enhance the meaning or give new meaning. The red that is used in the logo is very powerful and demands attention. The logo’s worldwide recognition speaks to the design’s effectiveness.

I haven’t really paid too much attention to recent examples of political design. From what I’ve seen, more recent political design has been pretty bland for the most part. To be fair I haven’t engaged with much political design recently so there might be some less mainstream stuff that is really cool that just doesn’t get as much traction. Specifically when looking at recent design in US presidential races I think the idea to have the MAGA hat was pretty interesting. It kind of hearkens back to that oversimplified nature that the solidarity logo shares. The solidarity logo and MAGA hat have opposite messages in a way but they still both use the same conceptual foundation to their designs.

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