I haven’t been writing much in the last few months. Ever since the election I have put my head down to grind through work, perform the daily functions required of a husband and father to keep the house running (somewhat) smoothly. That doesn’t mean that I have turned my back on democracy because the Russians elected a nudnik dotard in an effort to embarrass us and bolster their influence across the globe. On the contrary. My other full time obsession has been designing active measures for #TheResistance through my semi-anonymous Twitter account (this month @Maltaplication is under the pseudonym REX HEADROOM). I may have stopped writing, but I haven’t stopped creating.
Not many people follow the account. I’m not even sure my voice is heard by more than the 1,700 odd followers I have, but I pretend it doesn’t matter. I can be caustic and volatile (12 hour bans are something you get used to), measured and thoughtful, almost always satirical and sarcastic. Creating memes, videos and animated GIFs seems to help me cope with the utter insanity that has become the Republican Party, led by a dangerous, self-serving madman. Some days, my target is Trump, some days Paul Ryan, Mike Pence or Devin Nunes. It really depends on who usurped the other for the daily title of most godawful (often borderline or outright criminal) human detritus. I must say that Trump usually holds the top spot, but it can fluctuate wildly. Each day the bar somehow lowers past bedrock. The abyss is bottomless.
This week I took some time away from work to attend one of my favorite conferences, Adobe MAX — graphic designers, art directors, photographers, videographers…every aspect of design gathering in one place to experience and celebrate what’s new in digital design, and rub elbows with some of the greatest creative minds in the world. This year, 12,000 attendees descended on a still shaken Las Vegas. For me, MAX 2017 is the best conference Adobe has put on to date.
My job is a mixture of creative director/graphic designer. Partnered with my extremely talented wife, our boutique marketing studio primarily works with Fortune 500 companies, helping them achieve their marketing and design dreams in the niche of CSR.
Amidst all of the hands-on labs there are also sessions where living legends share their experiences in their field, how they work, what inspires them, how to stay inspired, and sometimes – activism.
Two sessions this year kicked some serious ass. Both given by fearless women that are on a mission. One was Jennifer Kinon, founding partner of OCD with her soul-crushing talk as the design director for the Hillary for America 2016 campaign, the other was Bonnie Siegler’s retrospective on political resistance.
Jennifer took us by the hand and gently walked us back to the beginning in 2015. Sharing her work and collaboration with other young graphic designers as they were added to the team. Unfortunately, 7-day work weeks and all of that amazing talent couldn’t have anticipated (or held back) the immense, criminal enterprise that the TrumpRussia campaign executed.
Bonnie Siegler of studio Eight and a Half is the reason I am even writing this today. Her presentation during her session The Design of the Resistance helped me realize that my Twitter trolling needs to get some serious focus. Thus far, it’s really been about as effective as public toilet graffiti scrawl — you may see it, chuckle, but forget it as soon as you are clear of your short, biological reason for being there.
Today I make a promise to myself to volunteer my time for congressional campaigns across the United States. They need design, social media help, and creative direction. I plan to help.