It takes the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 28,250 words to explain the woolly concept of relativism. It takes Genis Carreras 32 words and a single image: an ingenious blur of overlapping gray circles on a gray background. If you ask me, he doesn’t even need the text.
“Relativism” is one of 24 Philosophy Posters that Carreras, a London-based graphic designer, created to build “a new language to communicate philosophy visually, in order to make it more accessible and attractive,” he tells Co.Design. Each poster boils down an absurdly complex theory to shapes and colors that are so basic a kindergarten kid could get it. You’ve got a gold star on a red background (Marxism); a white “X” on black (nihilism); an upside-down cross (atheism); and so on. “Minimalism makes people complete the concept behind each poster,” Carreras says, “allowing different interpretations but at the same time giving a general picture of what the theory is.”
This stuff should plaster the classroom walls of every philosophy professor everywhere. I think back to my high-school Christian morality teacher who, bless his eager, exasperated heart, had a hell of a time unpacking Kant for a bunch of spitefully bored teenagers. Carreras’s posters would’ve been like manna. Hardcore philosophy snobs might complain that they’re too simple—that a complicated theory can’t, under any circumstances, be reduced to pretty squares and circles. Incidentally, there’s a poster for that line of thinking, too. See above.
[Images courtesy of Genis Carreras]