Friday, 18 March 2011

How to help?

Interesting post questioning the need to buy a poster – specifically, the above by Signalnoise – to filter your money through to charities helping Japan. Why not just give? It's something I question myself. Recently I've been busy communicating with friends and family round the world who are concerned (though we in Tokyo, as said, are inconvenienced rather than in trouble) and also researching the effects of nuclear power plants failing, but I will now research the best charity to give to for the most direct relief. But a friend is thinking of giving a charity concert. Indeed, there is one tonight which I'm had wondered about risking travelling into central Tokyo to see. (With an anytime power cut threatened, it doesn't make sense to go in to town unecessarily, or you could be stuck there!)

So, I have already considered filtering money through an event. Partly, it feels more than just giving. A concert can contribute beauty to an horrific situation. You not only give, even with a poster like the above, but you "share" the giving and the concern. The poster is a commemoration, something that says "we don't forget".

It's a luxury, as all design is. It's all that designers can contribute without mucking in themselves. (Volunteering isn't requested at the moment, nor is access to the area easy, nor is inexpert rebuilding help necessarily more important than keeping working to lift an economy badly hit etc.)

So I sympathise with the designer of this poster. While the blog-post questioning the design is a good one, if design is a luxury we "don't need", communication is a necessity. This poster is perhaps just a mixture of both, rather than an egoistic "look at me giving".

Update, 19 March: More on the necessity or lack of it in the design of "help" posters here on the Eye magazine blog.

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