This world is a small place. It always blows my mind when I meet people who share a common acquaintance or friend with me. This seems to be happening more and more lately which leads me to simply believe that my “neighbor” is everyone, everywhere – not just the person who lives next door. It’s quite a bold statement when you think about it. With so much geographic and cultural separation it’s weird to think of someone on the other side of the world as my neighbor. But when push comes to shove, we’re all connected.
Believe it or not a year has already passed since the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan causing the major nuclear plant disaster. I remember hearing the news a year ago and feeling devastated. Shortly after, however, it felt distant. The tsunami headlines were soon overridden by problems and issues that were more tangible and realistic to me. The fact is, regardless of my ignorance, the problems in Japan were still in place – as they are today.
One Year Ago
Once the initial news of the disaster went public, the leaders at my church decided we needed to do something to help – in our small way. Like many others in the design community had determined, it made sense to design a poster for awareness and sell it with all the proceeds benefiting a relief fund. The idea wasn’t new or ground breaking by any means, but it made sense to utilize the resources we had. Just like that I dropped everything I was working on and started designing the poster. The concept was simple: Remind people that we’re all neighbors and it’s our responsibility to help each other.
I decided that this would best be communicated by illustrating a globe that was completely empty – except for Japan – as if they truly didn’t have any neighbors. This felt appropriate because I’m assuming this feeling was fairly accurate for the residents at the moment. The illustration (which also doubled as a representation of their flag) was coupled with the message “Unite & Rebuild”.
I was happy with the results, but unfortunately the trigger was never fully pulled on the other logistics surrounding the project. So there the design sat on my digital shelf…
Fast Forward: One Year Later
I received an email from one of the pastors reminding me that a year had passed since disaster struck Japan. He thought that since the headlines of recovery were now few and far between it would be a good time to redeem our project and make another effort to spread awareness and raise some funds. So here we are. A week later, we had the posters printed, a purchasing website made and article being written to promote the cause. Every thing came together quite nicely. I was excited to be able to dust off an old project and actually see it out in the wild, but I’m even more excited about helping to put another spot light on an issue that’s worthy of attention.
There’s a lot more to this story, which I would encourage all of you to read about here. Beyond that I want to take one more opportunity to emphasize how small this world really is. It would be awesome if we are able to sell hundreds of posters in order to help this cause, but the heart of the issue is that there are needs to be met all around us. Whether it’s your neighbor across the street, or your neighbor across the globe, people need to be served and proximity should never be an obstacle.