Make a difference in the world, one page at a time

The winners have just been announced for a global poster competition that I entered along with classmates from our graphic design course.

As fantastic as it would be to win, you don’t have to win the competition to make a difference. If that just sounds like a rationalization of how well we performed, well…let’s see if this page can make a difference…

It was a competition – Posterheroes – that we had chosen as a class because this year’s topic was one that each of us wanted to support: ‘Rights in love.’

The design brief for the competition says: “The new edition of Posterheroes asks the creative community to tell all about love and the right to love in the world. Help us spark a debate on the right to love and on the meaning of being a couple.”

Based on that brief, I chose to focus on marriage equality because to contribute to the current debate in Australia. I chose marriage equality because I have numerous gay and lesbian friends who should have the same rights as me or any other Australian to marry if they choose to do so. Equal rights in love.

Now that the winners of the competition have been announced, I’m pleased to be able to share the 40 winning poster designs with you – along with my two entries.

In total, our designs were among 1,320 entries received by Posterheroes from 66 nations.

As fledgling designers, it was wonderful to see that a number of the shortlisted posters had similar concepts to designs which were produced by some of my classmates. What a credit to them and their creativity – congratulations!

While none of our entries made the shortlist, I’m proud to have completed and entered two designs at this stage of my learning.

Encouraged by our design teacher, our class tried to look beyond winning the competition as the only measure of success.

Instead, he invited us to reflect on our potential as designers to make a difference in the world.

The competition represented an opportunity to use our emerging skills to provoke thought and help start a conversation – regardless of which side of the debate we chose.

Because a great design concept, like any good storytelling – which crystallises a message simply, connects with people or challenges their thinking – can bring about change in our world.

Or it can change just one person’s perspective – and that’s powerful too.

That’s why I’m putting my posters out into the world now and into your hands.

I will leave each design to speak for itself, just as a poster should, and you will bring your own thinking to these pieces and to each of the competition winners.

That’s the beauty of design. Just as with writing, the impact is a co-creation of the designer/writer’s work and what the viewer/reader takes away from it.

Together, we can make a difference in the world. Who says that’s not winning?


What’s your experience? Ever had something you wrote, designed or created contribute to making a difference to something? I’m interested to hear about it. Please share your experiences in the comments below.

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