Climate Protest Signage: The Medium is the Message

 In Blog, Neil Andersen

The day after Greta Thunberg addressed the United Nations, I attended one of many climate change inaction protests, complete with hand-made signs. I thought it would make a great project to consider Key Concept #7: Form and content are closely related in media as it applied to this event. I was not surprised that a climate change protest would include hand-made signs, but impressed at how inventive they were in their forms and content.

One unique sign was beautifully eloquent and simple: a globe, pole, rope and tissue paper.

Several signs were intertextual, invoking meanings from other media experiences that were necessary to understanding them. Knowing who Abe Simpson is adds to the power of this sign:

One sign related to fake news stories. It was mainly through its form that readers can tell that it is sarcasm describing a movie plot.

One sign used colour and shape (form) to emphasize its content:

One used personification, or giving human qualities to a non-human object, to communicate its meaning.

What additional creative uses of hand-made designs do you notice in the following signs?

Which ones require contextual/prior knowledge in order to convey their meaning?

How are they examples of form and content are closely related in media?


What might someone who didn’t know the Titanic hit an iceberg think this sign means?


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