I love Apple products. But it comes with a cost. This is a poster design for The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, a monologue by Mike Daisey. Listen to a chilling excerpt from the monologue on This American Life. To be fair, it’s not just Apple that uses Foxconn, the factory responsible for these conditions. Just about every consumer electronics company is just as guilty.
Behind the Design
Let’s take a look behind the design and see the earlier concepts.
Concept 1: Since this monologue is about how western goods are made by Chinese hands, I thought it would be interesting to bring in Eastern influences. Here, the symbols are meant to look like Chinese calligraphy. From left to right: a clock, a hand, a man committing suicide, a coffin, and eyeglasses.
Concept 2: Innocent mobile icons, each with a dark meaning behind it.
Concept 3: Each factory worker is just a faceless pair of hands, so I experimented with replacing their faces with different icons.
I went with concept 2 because I thought it would be the most relatable. I was also fond of the contrast between the crisp, perfect icons and the sick meaning behind each one. I tried pairing it with a handwritten typeface to bring in a handmade element to the design.
I then experimented with taking a bite out of each icon, like Apple’s logo. This meant changing some of the icons so that the theme would be “things Apple takes a bite out of.” I also ditched the typeface and used my own handwriting.
I wanted stronger visual unity between the icons. If I’m using the bite, why not also use the leaf and the apple’s curved base? This required changing some of the icons, as the leaf didn’t work that well with some of the icons from the previous round. I also decided to change back to a typeface, because the handwriting was drawing too much attention to itself.
So here we have the final product: