Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-18 – Exhibition Review

The Design Museum’s latest exhibition, Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-2018, explores graphic design’s prominent role in the major political moments of our times.

Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-2018 Exhibition
(image source)

Through more than 160 objects and installations, including internet memes, posters, protest placards and magazine covers,  it shows how graphic design, image and social media have been utilized to shape political messages and to communicate reactions during this last, politically volatile decade.

When it comes to social media, it touches upon their evolution – from MySpace all the way to unstoppable rise of Instagram – and their increasingly vital part they are playing in bringing issues to the forefront – #MeToo anyone? The exhibition also sets the question on the way they facilitate slacktivism and the spread of fake news but leaves it to the visitors to continue this conversation.

The exhibition is split in three sections: power, protest, and personality. Power seeks to showcase how both international establishments and activist groups harness the (super) power of graphic design to communicate their ideas and capture the public’s attention. In protest, roles switch and the focus now is more on how graphic design has been used from the public to channel anger, frustration and discontent, and inspire action. Personality highlights ‘the graphic representation of leading political figures’ with The All-Seeing Trump stealing the spotlight as a (mis)fortune teller who generously hands out his self-made aphorisms to innocent bystanders.

Despite touching upon Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution and the Arab Spring, the exhibition inevitably focuses on the Western world with its extensive coverage of the last US election, Trump’s presidency, and – to bring things back to this side of the pond – the Brexit conversation.

See all of this and more at the Design Museum’s Hope to Nope.

Sceptical (as always),



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