Protest + Survive

Opening in March, Hope to Nope is the Design Museum's first graphic design exhibition in its new(ish) Kensington HQ, and examines the powerful relationship between graphic design and protest over the past ten years.

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International Women's Day (Steve Rapport)

Sadly, it would appear that exhibiting graphic design has never really been a priority for the Design Museum – apart from a few superstar designers' retrospectives and the odd show about road signs, as a discipline, it's not something which the institution has considered particularly worth creating major exhibitions about. It's always been argued that the public doesn't want to visit graphic design shows, but if there are none to see, then it's a bit tricky to actually visit them. Graphic design might not have the mass appeal of shiny red Italian sports cars for example, but unless cultural institutions such as the Design Museum recognise it as something worth showing, the public's perception of graphic design will never change, and compared to fashion or product design, it will always remain under the radar.

This is why we're particularly excited about Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-2018 – a new exhibition at the Design Museum which looks at graphic design in the context of protest.

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Remain campaign (Britain Stronger in Europe)

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Women's march, Washington DC, 2017 (Chris Williams, Zoeica images)

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Protest March, Portland Oregon (Scott Wong)

Hope to Nope is based on an idea by GraphicDesign& and co-curated by Margaret Cubbage at the Design Museum and GraphicDesign&’s Lucienne Roberts and Dave Shaw, with Rebecca Wright. The show looks back over what has been a tumultuous period in world events. Kicking off with the global financial crisis of 2008, the proceeding ten years saw the rise of the Occupy Movement, the Arab Spring and the refugee crisis, culminating in Brexit and Trump's disastrous ascension to the White House. It's a decade which has seen huge changes take place, with the internet and social media in particular enabling protest on a scale and at a speed never seen before.

This new era has seen graphic design play a huge part in communicating these political messages, through the traditional medium of posters and placards and now digitally. Information can now be spread around the world in seconds, giving voices to people who previously would never have been heard.

Can graphic design change the world, or is it simply a reflection of the world in which it exists? Hope to Nope promises to be a fascinating exhibition which will no doubt show that given a politically engaged audience and a thirst for change, graphic design can make a difference. Get the date in your diary now…

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Protest in Brazil (Charles Albert Sholl)

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Je Suis Charlie banner (Paul SKG)

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Occupy Wall Street, 2011 (David E Cooley)

Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-18
28 March to 12 August 2018

Design Museum
224-238 Kensington High Street
London W8 6AG

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Corbyn Swoosh (Bristol Street War)