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Oolong's Art & Design

Japan Disaster Posters: Humane or Criminal Act?

Is This Poster to Aid Japan’s Tsunami Victims a Crime Against Design?

Someone on Facebook shared this and I decided to read it.

It probably infuriated me much more than it would others because the disasters in Japan affected me personally as I am of Japanese descent and my whole family other than my immediate family still lives in Japan.

Though the author does raise a few good points, I still disagree with the article.

Sure, if you display a Japan relief poster in your house or wear it on a shirt, it could be interpreted as, “Hey people, I HELPED! I am such a good person!!” But honestly, I really don’t interpret it as an ego-boost when I see someone with a relief poster or shirt. I think more on, “This person cares. Maybe I should care too.” In which case, the poster/shirt is doing its job.

If the designer did make this just for personal fame, then yes, shame on them. But I doubt that ALL designers who have contributed design for the cause had selfish desires. But you know what, how would we know? If the result is that more support builds up for disaster-relief, then I could really care less for fame. Because I believe that this kind of design is going to bring “fame” to the cause, not the designer. Like really, are the consumers going to remember that Signalnoise made the poster? Most likely not.

Yes, people should help out without having to buy a product. But especially in America (and Japan), they’re capitalist. And it’s a recession. The average person will be more convinced to buy a product that donates money to a cause than to just donate without a product in return. That’s just how people are. Many people need incentive to act.

I love this comment. It is true, some people just want to express their feelings about a cause. “Guernica” by Picasso is a great example and there are countless other similar pieces. If we had to feel bad each time we produce a piece that reflects our thoughts for an important moment in history, then I think we’d have very few artists and designers in this world.

Anyway, just a quick compilation of thoughts. This probably wasn’t written well as it’s late at night, but if any one of you people out there have shown support for Japan, whether it’s buying a poster or a shirt, donating, or spreading the word, I personally appreciate it and the citizens of Japan have also expressed their gratitude for the support.

I worry nearly everyday about my family and friends in Japan, but knowing that so many people care gives me such a feeling of relief. So please, keep making art and design for the things you care about.

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This entry was posted on April 12, 2011 by in Design Discussion.

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