“The chance to come up for air”: Law magazine’s poster competition shows there is always a light at the end of the tunnel

The London-based magazine and creative agency received around 500 submissions to its poster competition, raising funds for two charities, Calm and The Cares Family.

21 May 2020

There have been countless different ways creatives have tried to make it through lockdown. Across the world we’ve seen colouring books, comics and virtual classes rhapsodise through the internet, but this is one we thought you should definitely all know about. Law magazine, the London-based publication and creative agency, also wanted to find innovative new ways to keep the creative community going at this trying time. As the pandemic began to unfold in what feels like years ago now, the news only seemed to get worse and like so many of us struggling with the confines of quarantine, the team behind Law “learned the heartbreaking way that distancing [them]selves from others was the best cause of action.”

Law’s founder and editor-in-chief, John Joseph Holt, tells It’s Nice That on the unravelling situation: “We were concerned about people struggling with loneliness and anxiety at home. We also had an audience with creativity to burn, but with jobs on hold and no immediate prospect of income, we decided to set them a task by running a poster competition.” Hoping to share a defiant signal of positivity and unity, the competition was a way to cut through the incessant doom and show that “however dark things get, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.”

It certainly provided a means of escape for hundreds of the popular platform’s audience, as Law amassed a tremendous 500 submissions. In the end, after a heavy stint of tough judging, three winners and five runners up were selected. Each design was awarded prize money for their winning designs while their posters were kindly printed by Hato Press and Daniel Morrow, ensuring all the proceeds from the sales went directly to two very worthy, front line charities. The sales of the posters continue to support two The Cares Family, a charity pairing up young people with its elderly residents to help them feel a part of the community. And Calm, a leading suicide prevention charity who are receiving an unprecedented level of incoming calls to their helpline, with a 37% rise in daily calls during the first week of lockdown.


Law magazine

In turn, the three winning designs selected by Law to help raise funds and awareness to these causes are the creations of Molly Bland, Joe Wilson and Nathaniel Brown. In Bagsy, a poster by Joe Wilson which stood out for its ingenuity, Joe set himself the challenge of using only items from his local shop to create the football-themed poster. Executing the poster using only football stickers, Tipp-Ex and Sellotape, Law singled out the the design for its “localised language and sentiment.” Reading “Bagsy not in goal when this is over”, John says of the emotive poster, “the itch to chase a ball around with friends before wellying it into the top corner is something a lot of people can relate to.”

Elsewhere, Molly Bland’s This Is Not Forever evoked a more universal message, bang on the brief. “We wanted to use this opportunity to get through to as many people as possible,” says John of the uplifting design featuring a shining sun and rolling green hills. Alternatively, in Nathaniel Brown’s Nokia Unity, the poster is an example of “a simple idea executed really well.” A throwback to the days before iPhones and the good old brick-like Nokias, Nathaniel’s poster is sure to stir up nostalgia for those of us who can remember those pixelated Nokia screens. Amazingly, it’s also designed to be cut in half and shared with a mate.

Encouraging entrants to see the competition not as a rivalry but as a way to support one another and feel good, now that the competition is over, the feel-good message continues. In a similar vein, John goes on to explain: “The monumental digital billboards that surround Old Street roundabout have been lit up at night with messaged of support for the NHS and front line workers. It would be nice if they were used to spread positive messages more often, instead of constantly trying to flog us the latest must-have gizmo.” Though it may be a far-fetched dream, the magazine’s founder hopes that this time of distance, if anything, can bring us closer together in unexpected ways and appreciate those we previously took for granted or are less fortunate.

“This is the first time in what feels like ten years since I started the magazine in 2011 that we’ve had the chance to come up for air,” John finally goes on to say. “We’ve learned that we have a platform and we should use it to bang the drum more. Normally it's heads down thumbs up, trying our hearts out to sustain a print publication and make work that matters, but this has shown us the power of community and the unique ability of art or design to communicate a message in new and interesting ways. I appreciate a poster is just a poster, but it’s a start, and I look forward to exploring ways of utilising the platform we have created to partner with more charitable causes and send out more signals of solidarity moving forward.”

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About the Author

Jyni Ong

Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.

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