Not just another project for designers: meet a new poster platform promoting positivity

In less than a week, open poster platform Stay Sane, Stay Safe has built a rapid response to how designers can contribute to promoting positivity at this time.

27 March 2020

Just last Sunday (22 March) a friend of Max Lennarts and Menno de Bruijn – who make up the studio Lennarts and De Brujin – asked the pair if they had an uplifting poster laying around for the walls of the hospital where he works. The friend also asked that maybe, if they didn’t have one, could they design one. Immediately saying yes, the two designers, alongside text bureau Overdeschreef, quickly began asking other designers to do the very same, setting up an open platform: Stay Sane, Stay Safe .

All developed in the space of just two days, and “intensively and remotely” over WhatsApp and email, the project has quickly unfolded, with designers now sending in their own submissions of posters daily. The group will then place these designs into handily downloadable folders, including an Instagrammable version of the poster or a PDF version to be printed and displayed, all for free too.

Amongst this process, Lennarts and de Bruijn explain there are three main goals of the project, first led by a simple mission to receive, create and share “uplifting and thankful messages to our care takers, lifesavers and hospitals”. But within these messages of designed positivity are also direct instructions of how to navigate the pandemic situation we each need to respond to individually too: “To educate others to take this whole thing more seriously,” adds the studio. “To stay indoors as much as possible, but also to keep smiling.” The final aim is to help the creative sector more specially, offering use of a platform where individuals can spread their work. “It’s a tough time for creatives also,” they continue, “this is a good way to build your portfolio – and make a difference in the meantime.”


Stay Sane, Stay Safe: Letterlik

In the longterm however, a real aim of the project is to get these posters inside hospitals, where an uplifting message is most needed at this time. Considering Stay Sane, Stay Safe is just three people, the means and funds to do that are limited, and so the group are hoping to find partners willing to collaborate. “We just want to show them some love and appreciation,” they add, as well as pointing out the importance of this not just being another project for designers. “In the end, it’s not the main goal to make other designers happy. The most important thing is to bring this to people outside of the design world, namely the people working in healthcare.”

Hoping more creatives will soon join the collective and get involved, Max, Menno and Ronald’s advice to any teetering on the edge of designing something, is: “Just do it! See this an opportunity to show off your design, creative and concepting skills. Ever heard the saying killing two birds with one stone? We’d like to rephrase it to saving multiple lives with one design.” The group also add that they would love to see other disciplines outside of traditional graphic design and illustration realms to get involved, as well as pointing out how experience isn’t necessarily a factor in a project such as this. “It’s collective corona art. Where have you seen that before?”

Overall, Stay Sane, Stay Safe is an admirable example of the power of collective design, and our community’s ability to come together, quickly and with visual impact. “A crisis like Covid-19 is shared by the entire world. It’s called a pandemic for a reason,” explain the group on this subject. “By sharing a common goal (kicking corona’s ass) you notice that we’re not so different from each other at all. The difference that a collective design project like this can make is that it’s bringing people together, figuratively speaking of course. Seriously, stay inside.”

Stay Sane, Stay Safe additionally showcases the positive power of the internet – and how to use it when you have a lot of time on your hands. Even just scrolling through the mass of posters already available makes viewers feel connected to something much larger. “The nicest part of shouting out online is that once you share it, it’s not just your project anymore,” the group conclude. “It’s also the world’s. When you invite others to pitch in, it inspires and empowers them to take control as well. And then, ironically, it kind of spreads like the virus itself. Just digitally, and way less destructively. It all sounds kind of hippie-ish, but that doesn’t make it less true.”

You can submit your designs to the project here.

GalleryStay Sane, Stay Safe


Made by Johnnie


Studio Janne Beldman


Cachete Jack


Kris Andrew Small


Odin Lowsley




Claudia Pazzaglia

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Stay Safe, Stay Sane: Studio Noord Oost

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About the Author

Lucy Bourton

Lucy (she/her) is the senior editor at Insights, a research-driven department with It's Nice That. Get in contact with her for potential Insights collaborations or to discuss Insights' fortnightly column, POV. Lucy has been a part of the team at It's Nice That since 2016, first joining as a staff writer after graduating from Chelsea College of Art with a degree in Graphic Design Communication.

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