If there’s anything that refuses to be condensed or simplified solely on the basis of mass distribution it’s philosophy. So when graphic designer Genís Carreras unveiled his "Philographics," minimalist posters that attempt to represent philosophical paradigms in bold colors and simple shapes, nearly two years ago, it’s no surprise that the warm online embrace the posters received was tempered by the scorn of philosophy students. Carreras has since expanded the series. Will the reaction be different today?
After the first iteration of Philographics was released, Carreras made the rounds in London design agencies while he balanced freelance gigs and developed his own projects. In the last few years, he has produced album covers, small books, brand logos, and, most recently, posters for a climate change campaign, all while fleshing out the Philographics. "I’m trying to cover the most important theories of the Western philosophy in order to make it a truly useful project," Carreras says.
The young designer hopes that the Philographics will be appreciated not just as design pieces, but also as pedagogical tools—to be used in classrooms. The rub, of course, is that the Philographics are short summary introductions to deeply fertile subjects of discourse and study, many of which Carreras had to tackle head on to expand the series. His first exposure to such heady thinking was Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra, which he stumbled upon when he was 15. Philosophy has interested him since, he says, which is why he’s keen on expressing it through graphics.
The first run of Philographics covered 24 "theories" summarizing concepts and main points. It took "a lot of research and time," says Carreras, to broaden the collection’s reach. Now, with 95 philosophical categories, he has launched a Kickstarter project to turn his web phenomenon into a book and postcard set.
The latest designs bring some compelling ideas into the fold. In Anarchism, a flattened red plane is suspended on a black background. A rounded arch, from which traces of the shape flow, fills out the Constructivism poster. In Perspectivism, Carreras uses a pyramid scheme-like diagram to illustrate the endless iterations that flow from a single source.
Launched three weeks ago and with eights days to go, Carreras’ Kickstarter project has garnered nearly £50,000 ($76,600), far above the £15,000 goal he originally set. Asked about the immense success, Carreras said he had a feeling "that the campaign would go well," but admits that he "never expected such a result." The funding will go towards publishing the Philographics book—a "visual dictionary of philosophy" that Carreras has been trying to do for some time, in addition to manufacturing the postcards and posters.
Carreras has even won over some philosophy students. "I’ve been receiving emails from teachers and students of philosophy, asking about the availability of the book. It’s great to email them back to say that the book is ready to go!"