Discover a new way to find and share stories you'll love… Learn about Reading Desk

Blog Profile / Social Design Notes

Filed Under:Arts / Graphic Design
Posts on Regator:392
Posts / Week:1.2
Archived Since:March 30, 2008

Blog Post Archive

First Things First 2014

On the 50th anniversary of the 1964 design manifesto, and in the spirit of its 2000 refresh, here is a 2014 update addressing the social impact of design in the digital age. Added to my growing list of design manifestos.

On Culture its Consequences

From an interview with Molly Crabapple: “Art can change the world, but seldom in the way it intends, and seldom the art that people think would have that effect. I keep thinking of the Guy Fawkes mask Dave Gibbons drew. In discussions of what art is radical, mainstream comics are seldom brought up. Show More Summary

The Success of Non-Violent Civil Resistance

In 2008, Erica Chenoweth conducted a study of violent and non-violent civil resistance between 1900 and 2006. Among her findings: Non-violent campaigns worldwide were twice as likely to succeed as violent insurgencies. This trend isShow More Summary


Fantastic post on Demos on the importance of building power vs charity. I hate to give away the punchline (it's a short post—go read it now) but this really nails it: “Certain kinds of everyday heroism will always be important and unavoidable,...Show More Summary

The Wonderful Web of Oz

Did L. Frank Baum anticipate the Internet in 1920? I’ve been reading some of the Oz books to my little girl. These are great magical fairy tales and are available in the public domain and easy to find online. Glinda of Oz is the last of 14 that L. Show More Summary

When Troy Saved Its Library with a Book Burning Party

A guerrilla marketing campaign uses outrage to drum up social media and mainstream media coverage, and dramatically redirects the framing of a proposed tax increase to save the local library. Hoaxing the people you want to support you is a risky proposition. But this time it paid off. (via)

Les Casseroles

I love this image by illustrator Matt Forsythe. It nicely captures the spirit of the protests in Montréal last May. As The Globe and Mail notes: “Those clanging pots, known as les casseroles, were initially seen as just another tactic,...Show More Summary

Myths and Movements

From Big Books and Social Movements: A Myth of Ideas and Social Change (PDF) by David Meyer and Deana Rohlinger: “Mythic accounts shorten the incubation time of social movements and omit the initiating efforts of government and political organizations. Show More Summary

Puppets Talk Back

First you ban them from your political convention, then you threaten their funding, now the puppets are rising up and fighting back with a Million Puppet March in Washington DC three days before the election. That should be some photo...Show More Summary

Contraception is a Political Issue

Flipping through some old posters, this one from Australia’s Earthworks Poster Collective caught my eye. I love the humor and urgency, the pop of white ink on newsprint, and the appropriated and politicized style of romance comics. And...Show More Summary

Austerity Isn't Working

Poignant cartoon from Steve Bell riffing on this influential Conservative poster from 1978. (via)

Designing Culture

Great piece via Mike on design and culture in Jacobin magazine. Some choice cuts: “Design is one of the linchpins of capitalism, because it makes alienated labor possible.… [W]hen it comes to design’s influence on social structures, the focus on consumerism distracts from something more significant and interesting. Show More Summary

Social Media Censorship in China

Researchers at Harvard scraped Chinese social media sites to produce this fascinating analysis of censorship patterns: criticism of the Government and its leaders are actually OK, but grievances that spread virally or suggestions ofShow More Summary


Enjoyed this détournement of Shepard Fairey’s ubiquitous brand from LibertyManiacs.

Critical Pictograms

Olympic pictograms have been used since the 1936 Berlin games to create a visual system of signs for navigating (and decorating) the games and host cities across language barriers. See this writeup or animated appraisal for a visualShow More Summary

Protest Posters in Québec

Design students at the University of Québec started the École de la Montagne Rouge to produce visual materials supporting the 2012 student protests across Québec. They’ve posted a lovely collection of poster designs, many in the spirit of Grapus and the Atélier Populaire. Show More Summary

Libya Ink

It’s amazing waking up in Brooklyn to see the euphoric tweets and pictures coming out of Libya as people take to the polls for first election in decades. I now feel that the 70 days I spent in prison didn't go to waste ?#LYelect ? ?#??????...Show More Summary

A is for Activist

As a parent, I’ve had a very hard time finding progressive children’s books. Innosanto Nagara felt the same way, so he and the Design Action Collective decided to do something about it. They are designing a picture book for radical tots — a full-fledged, pro-social and environmental justice ABC book. I've backed this on Kickstarter and you should too!

Street Tweet

Street Tweet. Here's a nice offline use of Twitter. Last month ONE ran a campaign around the G8 meeting in Camp David and Washington DC outputting selected Tweets in paint onto the pavement.

Copyright © 2011 Regator, LLC