Comic Sans in a Poster – An Experiment in Reverse Inspiration

In Canada, British Columbia has the lowest in government funding for the arts per-capita by a longshot compared to the other provinces. Among other things, communities that lack funding for the arts risk losing important culture, inspiration and innovation. Creativity is just as important to children as education and health. It allows for the growth of a more vibrant community that can inspire tourism and ultimately help the already weakened economy. I happen to live in the capital of British Columbia and have the chance to try and make a difference to something I am passionate about and to commit an artistic social experiment. (cue maniacal laugh)

I decided to make the worst poster I’ve ever done, one that was both uninspiring and boring — at least on the outside. I wanted to show how lack of creativity and inspiration could affect the very world around us. I believe industries depend on artists to make information palatable to the public and I wanted to portray a world where art is without value to its government. A world where art, music, writing — even something as simple as a poster, becomes bland and uninspiring.

Where do Subcultures go to Die?

Wikipedia’s definition of subculture-

In sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, a subculture is a group of people with a culture (whether distinct or hidden) which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong, for example, if a particular subculture is characterized by a systematic opposition to the dominant culture, it may be described as a counterculture.

Commercial sub-cultures are put to pasture in the place where they’ve spent their whole existence trying to avoid — the mainstream. It’s simple inevitability. The mainstream devalues subcultures for it’s own gain by using their appeal to certain markets as a tool to further their own agendas. This is particularly apparent within the advertising and entertainment fields.

The “Going Green” Fad

A great way to sell something is to get people to believe they are doing their part or making a difference by using your product or service. Guilt tactics and peoples gullibility have been in the propagandists arsenal for some time. Whether it’s starving children or drowning polar bears, we fill the coffers of these companies feeling that our contribution is making a change. It seems that with the onset of “climate change,” large companies are milking the Going Green fad for all it’s worth.

Applying Philosophy to Art: Friedrich Nietzsche

Digressions, objections, delight in mockery, carefree mistrust are signs of health; everything unconditional belongs in pathology.

I love this quote by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (who also sports the meanest moustache) from his book BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL. I agree with the idea that questioning everything, mistrusting authority, and delight in mockery are healthy. Without people with these attributes, who will remind the rest of society about the abuses being placed on them by others? In my opinion, this idea should be applied to art and design as well.

Humans need a reality check every once in a while and art is the best way to convey it to the masses. If you feel a message needs to be heard don’t be afraid to express it through your creations. The prize doesn’t need to be profits or website hits, it could be the betterment of society through the passing of truly meaningful knowledge.

How I Learned the Power of Communication Design and Art

My first encounter with communication design was when I was in grade five. I regularily wrote, illustrated and published my own comic book and circulated it throughout my friends. The comic contained short — yet very funny — stories about two fools who always died at the end of each strip. I also enjoyed creating advertisements to space out the stories.

One day my teacher discovered this little rag in the hands of a careless friend. Mrs B was particularily concerned with one advertisement showcasing the “Do-Everthing” robot. This robot would do anything — including perform sanitation duties on humans in public bathrooms — which my drawing and typography clearly illustrated. Ultimately my folks were brought in and I was scolded for the propaganda.

All lack of professionalism and potty humor aside, it was this moment in my life when I discovered the power of communication design and information. I honestly believe If we change our ways and start using this power with the right ideas — we can change things for the better.