Esteemed graphic designers are teaming up with Poster House museum and PRINT magazine in a bold new campaign. The posters communicate safety advice, offer support for local workers, and give thanks to those on the frontline.
Graphic designers such as Milton Glaser, Paula Scher, Seymour Chwast, Gemma O’Brien, Bobby Martin, and Matt Dorfman are contributing, amongst others.
In what might be the biggest campaign of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York’s designers have come together to create a diverse set of posters to support the public.
The public safety advice (PSA) campaign will be posted in 1,774 digital advertising locations across New York, including screens in Times Square.
“Posters are tools of mass public communication, so in a time like this when there is an urgent need for correct information and community messaging, posters are the perfect tool,” says Poster House museum director Julia Knight.
These PSAs take inspiration from Steven Heller’s article, which details the posters from the polio quarantine of his childhood.
In hauntingly similar circumstances, Heller recalls “those traumatizing moments as a child, when for a week or two at a time, my friends and I were kept at home, unable to have any contact whatsoever, while my parents continued to go to work every day.”
Knight, who leads the campaign, argues that COVID-19 government messaging is too obtuse and hard to understand. She says that this is a problem that can be solved by designers if they are given the visibility.
“Steve’s piece was a reminder that posters have always played a role in public health emergencies, from STIs in wartime to the Spanish Flu epidemic to HIV activism and awareness,” says Knight.
The pro-distancing posters will be hosted on LinkNYC screens and Times Square billboards, with the first of them appearing this week. Check out a few of the striking posters below.