MEMETIC PRODUCTION
OF PROTEST SIGNS
Marie Povoleri

The impressive Women’s March of January 21 in Washington, following the election of Donald Trump, will definitely be remembered; not only for the thousands of protesting women, but also for their protest signs. Struck by their creativity and impact, Marie Povoleri started to collect and analyse these. She defines these signs as ‘memetic’, a word that refers to memes, the popular digital jokes with borrowed pictures and funny catchphrases. Protest signs follow the same three main principles as memes: participation, layering of references and re-appropriation of meaning.

On memeticprotestsigns.com, you will find an extensive archive of signs and the stories behind them. From Beyoncé to the Gadsden flag, they combine self-expression with pop culture, creating the paradox of inside jokes shared with the whole country. Browsing through the categories, the role of pop culture in clarifying and amplifying the message becomes obvious. As does the power of amateur design: “In some contexts, that can be more effective than a professional design,” says Marie. “We are trained to make beautiful, intelligent designs, but sometimes the simplest things work the best.”


Graduation project, 2017

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