Essay Proposal


What role does Graphic Design play in political protests?


I have chosen this topic to complement my research from last year on Propaganda. Political protests are “an essential part of keeping democratic societies healthy” and designers “have used their skills to communicate their dissent throughout history and are doing so even more now since the birth of the Web and the increasing ease of disturbing posters and other printed materials”(Glaser and Ilic, 2006:Blurb).

Tentative outline: 

1. Introduction

  • Argument
  • A bit on the beginnings of protest

2. Rationale

  • “Form of activism” (Glaser and Ilic, 2006:228)
  • Freedom of speech/ Express opinions
  • Multi cultural/ Spread across boundaries
  • “an essential part of keeping democratic societies healthy” (Glaser and Ilic, 2006:Blurb)

3. Theoretical

  • Globalisation – images from one side of the world could be at the other side in a few seconds
  • Digital culture – the Internet provides the opportunity that a “message will quickly circulate” due to this “the idea of posting printed objects has become less relevant.” (Glaser and Ilic, 2006:231)

4. Case Studies

  1. Solidarity – branded campaign, help with the protest
  2. Anti Fur – demolished the industry
  3. Adbusters – alternative media magazine, protest
  4. Iraq war – difference between before invasion and after invasion

5. Analysis

  • What I have learned

6. Conclusion

  • Sum up the argument – strongly



GLASER, M and ILIC, M(2006) The Design of Dissent, Massachusetts, USA: Rockport Publishers, Inc

Tentative additional sources:


TWEMLOW, A (2006) What is Graphic Design For? Switzerland: Rotovision

FLOOD, C (2012) British Poster: Advertising, Art and Activism London: V&A Publishing

McQUISTON, L (1993) Graphic Agitation: social and political graphics since the Sixties London: Phaidon

McQUISTON, L (2004) Graphic Agitation 2: social and political graphics in the digital age London: Phaidon

BURY, S (2007) Breaking the rules: the printed face of the European avant grade 1900-1937 London: British: Library


Design is History (n.d), Dada, [5/10/2012]

Adbusters (n.d), [5/10/2012]

Obey (2012), FAIREY, S [5/10/2012]


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