Today, friend, illustrator and designer Aaron Wood brought up on a Facebook chat — had I seen his social media propaganda posters yet? As a designer I am always clamoring for a good visual — I pursued the link in front of me. I was pleasantly rewarded by the bold visuals nestled into the Design Milk post. I just had to get more information which leads me to our Q and A.
Amy: Hi Aaron, I am really excited to chat with you about your social media propaganda posters!
Aaron: Hi Amy! It’s great to “sit down” with you and answer some questions that you have.
Amy: Your poster style reminds me of a few designers we learned about in our design history classes at A.I.B. (The Art Institute of Boston). What will always stay with me are posters like El Lissitzky’s “Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge” and the Swiss designer Herbert Matter who designed a series of travel posters using his signature photomontage style.
Was there a particular poster artist that created propaganda posters from the early 1900s that was the source of your inspiration?
Aaron: To be honest, “Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge” came up on my radar again about a month before I did my designs. That image definitely influenced the first Google+ poster that I did. The first Facebook and Twitter images and verbiage came to me out of general war propaganda posters that I’ve seen throughout the years. The imagery of planes flying over head, talking about doing all you can for the war effort, majestic eagles and helping out your allies all came together for me. I decided to throw a little humor in my first set with the Facebook poster’s reference for their “Farmville” type games. For Twitter it was playing upon the shortness of the posts you can make there; being limited to only 140 characters. Finally, Google+ encourages a higher level of social interaction with people “sharing” ideas and posts with the share option. This aspect definitely drummed up the feelings of Communism and sharing everything with the community.
Amy: You mentioned you created these on your free time. Was creating these out of the sheer creative drive or was your intention to make a statement?
Aaron: I created these mainly from the posts I saw people making on a daily basis on Google+ talking about how G+ was in a “war” with Facebook and Twitter. Who would win the battle? Who’d come out on top and crush the other two? Which was better and should warrant the majority of your time?
These sentiments weighed heavily on me, which led me to create this graphic: https://plus.google.com/114468593663912084118/posts/736MaHGgqom
When I saw that a few weeks later people were still going at it, I dreamt up the fictitious “war” posters that these various social media networks would use to drum up support for their side.
I’d say then that the first set is pure statement. The following two sets were done out of creativity. How could I build on my original idea? How could I keep the images fresh and still engage people’s imaginations?
Amy: What social media site caught wind of your poster designs first?
Aaron: Once I posted the original set on Google+ they took off. I had the fortune of having two people who are followed by a LOT of people share my designs.
Amy: So, who do you think will win the social media “war”?
Aaron: In my opinion, I think there won’t be a real clear cut winner in this “war.” I think each site offers it’s advantages and disadvantages. Since Google+ is the newcomer and has only been around about a month and still isn’t open to the general public, it’s much too early to predict how well it will do in six months, a year, or five years. I see each site as a tool to get my design work out there, although I use Facebook the most to keep in touch with my closest and oldest friends.
Aaron’s posters are available for purchase on Etsy. You can also find Aaron via Google+.