September 19th might not hold any special place in your memories of the past year, but for the residents of Mexico City, it brought destruction and chaos from which the city is continuing to recover. The 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck the region collapsed buildings, cut power lines and took the lives of over 300 citizens. In the aftermath the first responders were the cities own residents, who quickly came together to sift through the rubble and save those they could, aided by the international community.
So what does that have to do with design? Well, if the purpose of a designer is to bring order from chaos and organise information in an easy to understand manner, how might a designer react to this tragedy in a meaningful way?
For the designers at MiniSuper Studio that response came in the form of a simple poster.
The studio staff were caught right in the middle of the catastrophe and luckily came through unharmed. After working with authorities and fellow citizens in the initial relief effort, the team wondered how they could use their design skills to make a difference as the city worked to repair the physical and mental damage it had endured. A simple, pink poster containing concise information about how residents could find help to deal with the trauma they had experienced was conceived. The headline, “It’s normal to feel this way”, perfectly addresses the confusion that persists after a disaster and gives those who read it permission to seek help and heal.
Design and visual communication are not generally thought of as front-line services in relief efforts but as the complexity and density of information that confronts survivors mounts, it’s worth reflecting on how designers can play their part in identifying and presenting the messages people need to hear.
Read the full story over at Creative Review.