50 Best Protest Signs of 2009

A graphic design friend posted this link on Facebook to a BuzzFeed article and I thought to myself, “What an interesting way to sum up the disgruntled of 2009.” As someone in the advertising world, I’m always fascinated by how people choose to express themselves, especially when angry. When fabricating protest art, one must make a number of choices: choice of material, size and type of lettering, presence or lack of an image, use of color and contrast. Then, of course, there is the biggest choice: what will this sign say? Does one go for funny, serious, sardonic or straight to the point? And does a more intricate sign–one with more effort than block letters on white posterboard–mean that that person cares more about the cause than the simple signmaker? Ultimately, protest art comes down to impact. Was the sign effective? Did it catch the attention of decision makers and move them toward change? For me, I judge a sign’s effectiveness by its memorability, the ones that stood out while I looked through all 50. Here are the 5 I deemed most effective.

#4. The variation of material (fabric vs. paper) and the clever message made this one stand out.

#17. Andy Warhol’s bold, graphic image of Liza Minnelli made me read and remember this sign’s message.

#35. Unfortunately, this sign stood out for the egregious spelling error in the first petition. Unless she was being ironic?

#36. The very recognizable reproduction of the Constitution created sharp contrast with the stark black handwritten message on white.

#50. This sign uses full justification to make full use of the sign’s surface area. That paired with the owner’s costumed dedication made a strong statement.

Which signs stood out to you?

(Header image from the article at BuzzFeed.)

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