Posters for Solutions


Image by Shepard Fairey

At key moments in our history, posters have inspired, persuaded, and informed. This month, Solutions and the Canary Project are pleased to launch a series of back covers for the magazine that are drawn from Green Patriot Posters. This project is open to the public and we encourage you to submit design ideas. The best submissions will be selected to run on the back of the magazine in a full-page spread.

Green Patriot Posters is a communications campaign featuring posters that invigorate and mobilize people to remake our economy for a more sustainable future. The Canary Project launched the campaign in 2008 with a series of bus ads in Cleveland designed by Michael Bierut of Pentagram. We then created a web site (www.greenpatriotposters.org), soliciting contributions from well-known designers and the public. We also developed curricula in which we taught students about sustainability and then worked with them to design posters that would educate and inspire others. We did this for universities, like the Rhode Island School of Design, as well as for middle schools and high schools.

Last month, we published a book of the best designs. The book features contributions from many of the most prominent designers in the graphic arts field, including Shepard Fairey, Geoff McFetridge, DJ Spooky (aka Paul Miller), Mike Perry, Vier5, and James Victore, in addition to essays by Steven Heller, Michael Bierut, and Tom Friedman.

The point is to create posters that condense an argument, sentiment, and message into one immediately impactful image and then to distribute those posters as widely as possible. Ultimately, the best work that the posters can do is to directly inspire action—whether that action is voting, writing an op-ed piece, lowering your own carbon footprint, developing cutting edge technology, or changing your consumer habits.

Every other month, Solutions will select a poster that connects to a theme in the current magazine. The image we chose to launch the project—the poster on the back cover of the special women’s issue of Solutions—was created by Shepard Fairey. It features a woman holding a newspaper over her eyes. The newspaper headlines concern climate change science and efforts to deny that science, but also, on the back cover of the newspaper, there is a story about wind power and America’s future. What is the posture with which the woman holds the newspaper? Is she overwhelmed or defiant? Is she holding the paper to her forehead in the way that a fortune-teller holds a card to her temple, divining the future? Fairey excels at these sorts of ambiguities, showing us where we obey by default and urging rebellion against such blind obedience. The key for this issue of Solutions is that the figure receiving and translating information, and thus the figure in a position of power, is a woman. As many have observed, women often hold the key to social change. Where they are empowered, a society is empowered.

If you are interested in submitting a design idea, go to www.greenpatriotposters.org, click on “Make a Poster,” and follow instructions for posting your artwork. We will select the best posters to print on Solutions’ back covers. If you have any questions, you can write to info@greenpatriotposters.org.