PaperSpecsGallery.com Presents: Banned Books Decoder Poster (Watch Video)
"We had the opportunity to use design as both informer and enabler, reminding people of how precious their rights are and giving them the means to exercise them in the same process."—John Earle, Designer
When you get right down to it, the urge to ban a creative work comes from a deep-seated fear that artist and audience are somehow in on a joke that’s far beyond your understanding; in other words, a conspiracy.
The devious minds at Spindletop Design plugged into this psychology beautifully with the creation of an innocuous-looking two-color sheet they designed to celebrate Banned Books Week, in collaboration with Houston bookstore Brazos Books and Workhorse Printmakers.
Click here to watch Lenz discuss the Banned Books Decoder Poster or on the video below:
While emblazoned with such Orwellian platitudes as "Freedom is Slavery" and "Ignorance is Strength" on the surface, looking through the red lens of a tear-off decoder reveals far more subversive messages, such as "Ignite your mind, read banned books."
As Designer John Earle explained, "Getting the secret message to work correctly was definitely a highlight. We needed to balance the saturation of the two colors to fully obscure the message without the lens, but fully cancel the overlapping red pattern through it. With a bit of trial and error we found a solution which worked effectively."
The letterpress printing of the poster on 160-lb. Mohawk Superfine only adds to the subversive feeling of it all—everyone knows Big Brother favors offset when he’s not otherwise eavesdropping on our digital doings.
"Print has always been a revolutionary force," said Earle. "In the current times of digital surveillance, the idea that you can disseminate ideas in your private space and far from the eyes of government watchers, is as powerful an equalizing force as at any point in history."
Sabine Lenz is the founder of PaperSpecs.com, the first online paper database and community specifically designed for paper specifiers.
Growing up in Germany, Sabine started her design career in Frankfurt, before moving to Australia and then the United States. She has worked on design projects ranging from corporate identities to major road shows and product launches. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, her list of clients included Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, IBM and KPMG.
Seeing designers struggle worldwide to stay current with new papers and paper trends inspired Sabine to create PaperSpecs, an independent and comprehensive Web-based paper database and weekly e-newsletter. She is also a speaker on paper issues and the paper industry. Some refer to her lovingly as the "paper queen" who combines her passion for this wonderful substrate called paper with a hands-on approach to sharing her knowledge.