United Kingdom Riots

I just recent­ly fin­ished a project for one of my design class­es where we had to cre­ate a set of 3 pho­tos to con­vey the mes­sage of an arti­cle enti­tled The Pol­i­tics of Desire and Loot­ing” by Adri­an Shaugh­nessy. It’s a real­ly inter­est­ing arti­cle, and if you have time I would high­ly rec­om­mend look­ing through it, but it basi­cal­ly presents the UK Riots of 2011 as a word of cau­tion to design­ers about the impact adver­tis­ing and design can have on people—that design­ers need to be respon­si­ble and keep in mind the con­se­quences of their actions.

The Crown

For my pho­to set, I spent a long time think­ing about the core themes and mood of the arti­cle. I decid­ed that I want­ed to pick three sym­bols that were not only icon­ic of the UK, but also ref­er­enced design, gov­ern­ment, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion. The three sym­bols I chose were: The Crown from the “Keep Calm and Car­ry On” posters, the Unit­ed King­dom Flag, and the Red Tele­phone Booths. I want­ed to recre­ate these sym­bols with pho­tos depict­ing the riots and the after­math of the riots. Luck­i­ly, I found a real­ly amaz­ing free pho­to col­lage soft­ware called “AndreaMo­sa­ic”. This lit­tle pro­gram is amaz­ing, you give it the ref­er­ence image (the image you want to recre­ate), then you give it a file of pho­tos, then you choose options like dimen­sions, tile size, col­or edit­ing, arrange­ment, etc. I was so for­tu­nate to find this soft­ware because try­ing to do this by hand would have tak­en for­ev­er and not have been as pre­cise.

Unit­ed King­dom Flag

In the end, my con­cept was that these icon­ic sym­bols of the UK, design, gov­ern­ment, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, were giv­ing a false impres­sion, which result­ed in destruc­tion and chaos. These riots were very com­pli­cat­ed, it’s hard to place the blame on any­one because there were so many fac­tors that led to them—the gov­ern­ment, edu­ca­tion, his­to­ry, class sep­a­ra­tion, reces­sion, and yes, even design, all had a part to play in it. I want­ed to show that these sym­bols were made from many parts, and that while the whole looks com­plete from a dis­tance, when you get clos­er, you real­ize how real­ly frac­tured and ambigu­ous it real­ly is.

Please click the image thumb­nails to view them at a larg­er scale where you can dis­tin­guish the indi­vid­ual pic­tures.

Phone Booth