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Social Impact of Graphic Design

Humans happen are certainly a special breed. Powered by the help of imagination and invented tools, we have, on more occasions than one, transformed the fabric of society in quite a lot of ways. But this transformation is not always positive, and in innumerable cases, we have had to suffer a lot for the comforts and facilities of life that we take for granted. We reside in times of marketing and advertising where a few carefully chosen words along with impactful pictures or designs propel us to make a purchase or to act in a certain way contrary to the norms within which we are presently bound.

Graphic designers, whether working for a cause or a company, have an enormous responsibility towards society at large. When a new product arrives in the market, it is accompanied with enticing packaging and catchy slogans or words that make us stop and take a closer look. Often, it is those very words and catchphrases which influence us with going for one product in favor over another. We could debate endlessly regarding what is ideally good or bad, but this will never ever lead us to a conclusive agreement. If we take into account the fact that an average human being in the USA sees close to three thousand messages touting the veracity of particular products and services, it becomes quite difficult to sift through these mindboggling amount of data.
Let us take a good look at some important and pertinent issues in recent history that owe their success to graphic design. We all remember the movement for civil rights sparked off by Martin Luther King, and this movement relied a lot on empowering words and great imagery to get the message across to the masses.

Even more recently, Barack Obama, during the course of campaigning for presidency, used a great logo that was not readily apparent to our thinking mind but struck a deep chord in the subconscious of the voting public. The logo was designed to give out the message that here was a determined man, setting off on a long journey and reaching his goal with aplomb and triumph. Needless to say, this had the desired effect on the voters who descended in droves to usher him into office for what was a very successful term in reality.

The color of a country’s passport jacket is also a place where graphic designing has come into play. Currency notes commemorating special events in the history of the country in question are also another example. Days like the Independence Day or the founder’s day find special mention. The Netherlands for example have currency notes with pictures of their famous canals and even more famous tulip fields. These help in promoting the country as a place for a holiday while at the same time highlighting its attractions. Stamps regularly feature famous flora and fauna of the country of origin, and are of different colors. Coins also have been subjected to experimentation on more occasions than one.

Designing, at its very best can bring to light pertinent issues. As educated people, we have to take the cue from these messages and implement them in our daily lives for positive change in this age of unbridled consumerism.

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