To raise awareness that the problem of homelessness is everywhere, trying to bring personal feel by using collected signs purchased from the homeless.
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Does this design reflect a(n)...
• well developed and easily understood concept?
The core concept is clearly articulated, powerful, and visually well-executed. The core message is highly relevant throughout the world, yet the choice of anchoring it exclusively within the USA domain – particularly the reference to VETS – is highly problematic. The current and common international attitude to any imagery associated to the US military would be negatively interpreted in many/most countries because of the controversies raised by the Bush administration’s interventions in Afghanistan but more particularly in Iraq which has seriously damaged the reputation of the members of the US armed forces internationally. Therefore, the sympathies expressed in your chosen visual references would not be broadly accepted or appropriately interpreted as you had intended it to be. It is an unfortunate reality of international politics.
In addition, the current solution does not contextualise which of the Human Rights Convention’s areas your design solution relates to. An addition of a text line that clarifies this will be beneficial to contextualise the issue.
Further, you cloud your message with the inclusion of a visual clue to ‘Menthol cigarettes’ which opens another hornet’s nest of subtexts and messaging related to health issues.
• level of social engagement?
• understanding of the issues reflected in the poster?
• sense of internationalism and accessibility?
The message is hard hitting and I personally understand your approach but many others (most probably the majority of your intended audience) might not because it traverses the boundaries of acceptable cultural norms in many cultures. The tainted political associations regarding any reference to the USA in many parts of the world today are so precarious and sensitive, makes it very difficult to use any visual association to it problematic in the current socio-political climate internationally.
Focusing on US VETS at this point in time is unfortunately not ideal for the international community because it simply does not carry the same sentiments and weight as the native poor, racially disadvantaged, illiteratly challenged and under-skilled communities experienced in other regions where similar problems occur but under different challenges and circumstances.
Your topic is relevant but the focus might be too insular in a global context.
Posted June 27, 2008
By Jacques Lange