Torture, beatings and the abuse of prisoners by governments because of their beliefs, are some of the horrors Amnesty International was formed to blow the lid off 50 years ago. Along with letter-writing, the poster is one of their weapons
In 1961, London’s Observer newspaper published the Forgotten Prisoners article by lawyer Peter Benenson which kickstarted Amnesty, and last week the newspaper showed a selection of posters which includes a wide range of visual work by Picasso, by former Pentagram designer Woody Pirtle and by ad agency Goodby, Silverstein and Berlin. Martina at Adverblog asks, “I don’t know if the poster created to celebrate the 50th anniversary is as good as its predecessors.” Do some posters look cooler because they have the look and aura of their time? And what makes a successful Amnesty poster? Is there a core visual language that’s most effective in rousing people to action?
The naive approach of Miro and Woody Pirtle seem to effectively capture that idea of innocence that works especially well as a contrast to the underlying menace of violence.
On the other hand this 1980 poster, The Real Face (which ironically never saw the light of day because of a coup in Turkey) is an eye-grabbing piece referencing pop culture cues such as the mirrorshades and windsurfer to hint at something dark below the surface.
Who would you choose to design/create/shoot an Amnesty work?