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5 Anti-Climate Change Posters, Inspired By WWII-Era Propaganda

In “Green Patriot Posters: The Revolution Will Be Designed,” Shepard Fairey and others make posters that speak out against climate change.

Climate change is one of the greatest issues facing our world today, but given its vast scope, it is also one of the hardest to convince people to take action over. How can one person’s recycling bin ward off impending global doom?

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Enter the propaganda campaign. In “Green Patriot Posters: The Revolution Will Be Designed,” a series on display now at the Design Museum Boston, designers, artists, and illustrators from all over the world were asked to create a propaganda poster to encourage sustainability.

Image: Courtesy of Maria Matveeva, Design Museum Boston

“The campaign and the posters were inspired by WWII-era propaganda, and they harken back to a time when the country needed to be united to overcome major challenges,” Sam Aquillano, the museum’s executive director, tells Co.Design by email. Now, a new kind of “world-changing action” is required of Americans, one that’s more about saving energy than not blabbing state secrets.

The posters, originally commissioned by the art collective The Canary Project, take different angles on what it means to combat climate change and create a sustainable world. Artist Shepard Fairey, famed for the the design of Obama’s 2008 “Hope” campaign, created a poster that heralds “Clean Energy For America.” A poster from graphic designer Diego Gutiérrez is a tongue-in-cheek encouragement to “Keeping Buying Shit.” Implicit in all of the posters is the recognition that sustainability can’t be achieved unless everyone’s on board.

Image: Courtesy of Maria Matveeva, Design Museum Boston

The Design Museum Boston has mounted the show in a residential apartment building in the city because it embraces the notion that “design is everywhere,” and thus its directors have chosen not to occupy any permanent space, putting on exhibitions in available spaces all over the city. The posters will be on view until May 31.

About the author

Shaunacy Ferro is a Brooklyn-based writer covering architecture, urban design and the sciences. She's on a lifelong quest for the perfect donut.

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