Exhibition: Hope to Nope, Graphics and Politics 2008-18

24.04.2018

From the 2017 women’s marches to Donald Trump’s controversial presidency, London Design Museum’s Hope to Nope is a colourful and noisey exploration of graphic design and its pivotal role in the key political moments of the last decade.

Since 2008, the public’s engagement with politics has dramatically shifted. We’ve witnessed a turbulent decade; the global financial crisis, the Occupy movement, oil spills, terrorist attacks, Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump – and we’ve never felt so compelled to speak out. The London Design Museum’s new exhibition Hope to Nope seeks to explore this idea in greater detail, examining the influence of political paraphernalia and protest imagery and its ability to influence our decision-making. 

Guiding visitors through the political landscape, Hope to Nope is comprised of three main sections; exploring the notions of ‘Power’, ‘Protest’ and ‘Personality’ and the visual moments that defined them. From searing North Korean propaganda, to Dread Scott’s flag in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Power explores how graphic design is used by the establishment to assert national and political authority, and how that iconography can be overthrown by both activists and opponents. Meanwhile, Protest journeys through Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’ and the 2017 Women’s March, as well as the emotional and inspiring public responses to the 2017 Grenfell Tower disaster. A looping film by moving image designer Paul Plowman is the highlight of this section, evoking the experience of protest by combining real-time hashtags, footage and images from five global protests, covering diverse political viewpoints, calling for justice, and documenting the emotional responses of protesters; from joyful solidarity to fierce anger. 

The final section, Personality, examines the rise of ‘politician as celebrity'; featuring Jeremy Corbyn depicted as a superhero in homespun comic books, and Donald Trump’s trademark features caricatured across the covers of TIME magazine. Here you have the chance to have your fortune told by the All-Seeing Trump – a ‘misfortune’ telling machine that appeared on the streets of New York during the 2016 presidential election.

By taking no explicit political sides, Hope to Nope showcases a challenging decade of political events, both harrowing and uplifting, focusing on the way graphic design and digital technologies are shaping political messages like never before - and will continue to do so for decades to come.

Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-18 runs until 12th August at London’s Design Museum. Buy tickets here.