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We The Sheeple

sheepWake up, people! Have you herd, we are about to nominate our 45th president of the United States of America. Do you care? No, seriously. Do you?

The designer for this poster obviously does.

Your voting participation, or lack thereof, implicated by this poster’s visual rhetoric attempts to define how you give to society come voting season.

There are a number of design elements that contribute to the success of Sean Adams’ ‘Don’t Be A Sheep’ poster. We will do a shallow dive into a few of the  components that speak volumes of Sean’s message.

First, hue, or color, dominates this composition. Orange radiates from this design like a warning sign. If the color could speak it would say something along the lines of “PAY ATTENTION” or “WARNING,” and yes it would be yelling at you. The illustration of the sheep is a dark hue while the body of the composition is an orange hue. The black lines and illustration are well defined and compete with the overall tone pushing and pulling the viewer into the center of the figure. Three of the words of the text are also in black mirroring the effect of the figurative animal. And the last four words are in white. This contrast in hue amplifies the imperative message of the piece, which could be “listen, this is important.”

Second, illustration, or the sheep. We see the sheep aligned vertically and horizontally dead center of the poster. You want to view the text but are pulled back to the gravitational pull of the sheep. You notice that the figure is facing east and giving you “side eye” as though it is judging your actions or inactions. Could the artist be implying that we are the sheep by not casting our vote or is he suggesting that by casting our vote we follow the herd like obedient animals? This message is so vast from a simple composition that we can include many other design elements to amplify the rhetoric, including; hierarchy, tone, point, framing, unity, harmony, etc.. but that’s a critique for another election.

Lastly, the text. It’s a paradox. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t type of message. “You are voting,” is a simple statement or command.  “One way or another,” implies that, regardless if you make it to the voting booths, you are casting your vote–figuratively. If you don’t cast your vote then you are not contributing your voice to either side of the aisle. And in a way you are a contributing member of society as this cute sheep infers.

In conclusion, the elements of this design by Sean Adams is so complex that most people only see the sheep and not their own reflection that Sean insinuates. You are not an animal. You are a civilized human in a society that succeeds by casting their voice, vote, and inclusion. This election do your part and make your voice herd. Bah.

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