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Top Trumps: When words are not enough

Top Trumps: When words are not enough
March 28, 2017 esther

What I have found fascinating about the recent demonstrations after the unthinkable occurred; the election of President Trump, is the role that visual imagery has played in the outrage of the populous.

Political demonstrations throughout history have called for revolution, change, or just statements of resistance; have used placard as a supporting statement immortalised visually. The message or demands, encapsulated in a carefully considered piece of copywriting. Messages reinforced and visualised the voice and the chant that accompanies the placard, which disappears into the atmosphere as soon as the demonstration ends. The placard and the visual record of the placard remains.

Looking at the Trump demonstrations, the messages are more than just a rejection of ideas. The hostility is deeper; it is not about regime change or a rejection of the Presidency; but a more complex use of the placard as a communication. From outrage and fear, emerges wit and humour. An incredulity that such a media-craving megalomaniac, with no prior experience could become the leader of the free world. They don’t just mock the personality, his physical appearance (skin tone and hairstyle), but draw Orwellian comparisons with Hitler – a warning from history, asking us has history taught us nothing? The result is that some of these images have gone viral, maximising their impact by playing to the President’s inability to exercise restraint on social media.

In terms of the graphic design, is there a a heightened awareness of the power of visual imagery, on the part of the maker? And has this outrage caused connections that are being manifested visually? It certainly seems that the pictures are speaking a thousand words. The images are getting a much stronger sense of message across than the words alone.


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