For over a month now, folks have been occupying Wall St., in addition to cities and sites the world over. Not that I rate the merit of a movement by the production quality of its propaganda materials, but for the most part, the protest signs are rather shabby. Luckily, it didn’t take long for interesting populous-generated art and design to emerge.
A series of posters hit the internets with slogans such as “Yes We Camp”, “Tax The Rich”, and the now ubiquitous “We are the 99%”.
Molly Crabapple’s poster, image via Boing Boing
Recently, a few bits of design have hit the scene. I can’t exact call them viral, because that implies an unexpectedness in how fast and far they spread, but they’re are intended to be shared and deployed. A while back, I spotted Occupy George, a project which seeks to illustrate the disparity of wealth in America by overprinting infographics onto dollar bills.
images via Occupy George
The cool thing about this project is that you can make your own by downloading the templates for your inkjet printer. No need to come up with your own designs or to painstakingly illustrate the diagram.
Of course, defacing money is still a federal crime, so don’t be clever and pass these bills to any uniformed officials of the government (or at least the Treasury; no one else gives a shit, I’m sure).
More recently, I spotted some clever buttons that say simply “99%”. Obviously, we the 99% can wear these buttons in solidarity, and to quickly assert that I make less than $250,000 (in case you’re curious.)
images via Busy Beaver Button Co.
However this is only half the project. To compliment the 99% buttons are 1% buttons, fabricated with 24k gold. The cost of these shiny 1% buttons is $100 per button, compared to $0.70 for the 99% variety. Don’t worry, half the profits for the 1% buttons are donated to charity. I think you’re supposed to wear it ironically. Or better still, buy it but don’t ever wear it. Ever. (A third option, could you buy it for the sole purpose of mounting on the hood of your Lexus, or whatever.)
Both of these recent projects, in addition to the posters, are great examples of designers putting their skills into good use, for a cause they believe in. No clients are behind this, no big payday awaits. There may be some sense of enterprise at work, but is that not the spirit of the American worker that we’re fighting for in the first place?
What are your thoughts? Are these clever examples of design campaigns for the greater good, or a cheeky opportunity for struggling designers to make the front page of so-and-so blogs?