by Abbey Kleinert, Teaching Specialist Graphic Design MFA student
The Media Design course I teach at the Journalism School recently spent a class period creating GIFs in response to terrorist attempts to fill us with fear/racism/bigotry.
We discussed citizens and students being bombarded with information about the continuing inhuman acts throughout the world. The more we pay attention, the more fearful we may become. Our food for thought for the project was the tone of news we see on our social media and how designers and artists might respond in this situation.
Inspired by the widely circulated story about a French father explaining to his son how flowers and candles protect, and the Martin Luther King Jr. quote, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” we spent a class period making designs that could "shine a light" on the web.
We have posted our response, GIFS for Solidarity, to social media in the hopes that they will reach those in need of encouragement during these dark times.
“I thought it was interesting to make a positive form of media and put it out there and see how fast it would spread compared to a negative piece of media. It felt productive to know that I was putting something out there with the purpose of making someone smile and feel good rather than spreading fear or negativity about the world!!!” Anne Yetzer
"I posted my GIF on Facebook and a lot of my friends and families commented and liked my post, I think they were happy to see a positive post amid all the negative news stories lately." Kirsten Mitchell
“I think the GIF project was great because it allowed me to de-stress during class, and focus on something positive, light, and fun rather than all the negativity that has been swarming my social media feeds and campus over the past few months. After sharing my GIF on Facebook, I received a lot of likes and comments. My favorite comment is this: ‘I really like that they had you guys do this to up the positivity on social media. I've been looking for more things to smile at! Brandy Vo.’” Erika Voeller
“With all the negativity that is so easily spread through technology, on top of what is already in our physical world, I find it important and really special to utilize digital creation as a manner of reaching out to people in need of encouragement and light. With our world being as connected as it is, it's possible to change someone's day without knowing it. I think it's worth trying... And if no one ends up seeing it, you've made something to encourage yourself. Caption for my GIF: Learned how to make GIFs in design class today to uplift our aching world. Use your beating heart to love.” Madeline Harpell