This afternoon, while I was walking to the subway from work, I ran into a group of union workers raising awareness that their pay was not commensurate to the amount of profit they bring in to the company, thus their labor was undervalued. They handed me this flyer:
I took one look and thought, “Tell AT&T/Cingular?.. How?” I stopped and asked the next flyer-wielder how I could make a difference, and pointed out that there was no contact information on the flyer. She explained that they’d been in a rush to print them, that they wanted to flyer the same day the iPhone was released.
To their credit, they’re drawing on a clear analogy. Whether I like the aesthetic is a matter of choice. Their first and foremost thought was that they needed to convince us to take action, and this is clear from the flyer. So urgent was their need, however, that they failed to tell us how to take action. Their website is plagued with similar problems.
I mention this to illustrate just one role that design can play in activism. Without considerable thought about design, we can very easily fail to meet our mission. It’s a rudimentary observation, but one that we can’t ignore if we mean to make a difference.