Wednesday, November 30

A Brief Look at the Iconography of Occupy Wall Street

First, in attempting to convey a classic, “All-American” theme, it comes off looking like a Civil War recruitment poster or a bourbon advertisement.

Content wise, this poster should probably be split into to separate banners. As it stands both the top and bottom half have the weight, removing any clear and natural direction for the eye to follow. The result of this is it seems jumbled – the framing doesn’t even really match from top to bottom, with the bottom corners wider than the top, as well as being different stylistically.

The top half in itself is a fairly effective poster; its message is clear and consistently worded. The bottom half however is a mess. As it is, the three levels (WE, ARE, 99) are in limbo. Through the size and spacing, our eyes are drawn immediately to the large “99”, which, as the focal point should be centered with even spacing and clear lines up both sides or should be a dramatically different size. Of those three levels, either one needs to be demonstrated as the most important and set out dramatically, or they should all be given equal weight and the focus should be consistent.

A well-designed graphic should effectively utilize the negative space (basically blank space), where this designer simply inserted small graphics and increased the size to almost entirely eliminate any negative space, which is why it feels cluttered and disjointed.

Also, the font and design appear to be trying to convey an “All-American” sentiment, however it ends up feeling more like a civil war recruitment poster or a bourbon ad.

As an image, this is framed nicely. Content-wise, it isn’t exactly clear. As this isn’t necessarily an advertisement, its message doesn’t have to be obviously understood, however some clarity (or at least something standing) would be nice and effective. The poster needs some oomph to it. Perhaps changing the white lettering to a bold, fiery red would go well with the serenity of the general image – also, increasing the font size would draw more focus to the purpose behind the image and it would seem less like just a pretty picture.

This is a well-created poster. The message is clear and it is an effective take-off of the British, “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters from World War II. Technically the distance between both the camera and “#occupy*” and the letters should be reduced, thereby moving them further away from the outer borders (even the crown in the original poster is rather close to the words and not way off towards the top). However, it works perfectly fine as is.

This poster could have been very good. Utilizing old propaganda-type formats works very well with a movement of this type and could be incredibly effective, however this poster needs to work on its negative space and special movement. Reducing the size of the “1%” man and moving him further into the corner while increasing the amount of people, tightening the gaps between them and spreading them further into the main focal space of the poster would effectively demonstrate the percentages they are attempting to convey. The entire piece could also be centered, demonstrating a sense of isolation, as one man stands alone with a mass of people before him. Also, the text box is unnecessary and aesthetically, should be removed. The text inside doesn’t say anything that visual itself isn’t already saying and so removing it wouldn’t take anything away from the message.

Graphically, this poster has major spacing issues, but aesthetics are probably not its primary focus. While the message can be understood, reducing the space between lines and pulling the letters in and away from the edges could simplify it. Using multiple fonts is fine, however it is an awkward transition between the two which could be remedied through spacing adjustments. Also, the line beneath “WE ARE” is redundant; the largest writing on a poster will inherently have the greatest focus, and by using such strong lettering the designer has given it all the emphasis it needs.

This poster is awkward. While it utilizes the bold, fiery red text missing in the other bull poster, it also opens up several additional issues. The lines framing “What is our one demand?” seem unnecessary and could be removed without detracting from the overall message, however, so could those words. They carry significance relating to many of the critical responses of the movement, however, “JOIN US” itself sort of does that on its own. On the “JOIN U.S.”, the periods abbreviating U and S are aesthetically detracting, and as far as the message goes, this doesn’t come off as a natural or effective place for wordplay and therefore appears unnecessary as well. Then, as with the other posters, the white text is very close to the bottom edge, which could be remedied by moving it up, however they could also just delete “Bring Tent” as it seems like an after-thought – or a joke. “JOIN US. September 17th. Bring Tent.”

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