A favorite project from my design school days because it led me to discover my love for infographic and poster design and taught me the potential power of creativity to tell important stories, create awareness, and inspire action.
The Iraq war was a momentous and controversial event in the US’ and our generation's history that was ongoing and seemed never-ending, even four years after it commenced– and, as predicted, with consequences still being felt to this day.
With the various narratives already taken to address it, my project partner and I wanted to take a new creative approach to the story and highlight its consequences in a relatable way to American audiences, specifically to our student body at American University, by bringing the impact of the war “home” to their doorsteps. With many reporting casualties of the war in an often detached way, publishing large statistical numbers, we felt that overtime this desensitized the students around us by sounding far and foreign. Thus, we aimed to bring empathy back to the conversation and remind our audience that those casualty figures were much closer to home and also included members of their communities.
Our approach was to narrate the statistics in layers and dissect the story of what they really indicated. We used a red, white, and blue color scheme and a map of the United States to illustrate the specific US-focused narrative and appeal to our intended audience.
We then aggregated and localized the ‘number’ of reported deaths with the red dots representing a single casualty of the war from each state. We also highlighted the states with the highest cluster of losses with red boxes. To further relate it to our student body, we included the number of American University students from each state via the color-coded map.
The “as of” date and time was a purposeful addition to show that the losses represented in the infographic only reflected the latest figures; Signaling that the number of casualties will increase with each passing moment the war carries on. Finally, attempting to illustrate the human impact and build empathy, we added the names, ages, military positions, and dates of death of the lives lost as an overwhelming pattern in the background of the poster.
Conceptually, I would’ve liked to see this project as a large media installation or live digital project, with the dots and numbers blinking and growing over time. Especially since the war did not “officially" conclude until four years after this project, in 2011.