How to Protest in 2018: a Comprehensive List of Ways to Stand Up to the Man in the Modern Age is a hand-made publication that asks, "Is protest a productive use of political attention? Or is it just a bit of social theatre we perform to make ourselves feel virtuous, useful, and in the right?" After flipping through 30 methods of protest, a history of protest, and an article dissecting this very question, the answer is for you to decide.
University of Washington
The diagramatic language of the method pages developed to help present each method as a serious form of protest with unique, modern examples of its use. It juxtaposes the satirical copy describing each method, asking readers to question if they believe this method is an effective form of protest.
The geometric shapes and and consistency in type and image treatment contribute a certain unity while still being variable and exciting. Readers can look at only the overview of each method or they can go searching for annecdotes and unique details.
Between approximately every seven spreads, was a dividing page describing the history of protest dating back to the origin of revolution in Magna Carta. The timeline and information of historic revolutions and protest movements was compiled by BBC. It asks readers to question how the modern methods of protest presented in the publication do or do not follow precedent, and whether or not they have the same impact today.
Nathan Heller of The New Yorker asks this question and considers academic answers of every angle. I included his article in the center this publication, so as the readers make their way through the book, its true purpose becomes more transparent and they can consider the second half of protests methods through a more critical lens.
As the centerfold of the publication, I feature a quote from Heller's article which fully encapsulates the questions I want readers to confront in this book: "Is protest a productive use of our political attention? Or is it just a bit of social theatre we perform to make ourselves feel virtuous, useful, and in the right?"
In order to present the questions as a confrontation, I set them on the only full bleed red spread in the publication and strategically forced the text to legibly cross over the the gutter in large, centered type.
My goal with this publication was not to tell readers how to feel about certain protest methods or about protest as a concept. There are protest methods I believe in and others that I don't. Instead, I feel we often act or speak out because others do, because there's a certain virtue attached to it. It makes us feel good. My goal here was collective reflection. I hope we can spend more time thinking about the actual meaning behind protests we participate in and their impact on others rather on ourselves. That's why this book begins and ends with the same quotation taken from BBC's history of protest, "The people are revolting. Will you join them?"
Red, White, and Black. Red is the universal color of protest. Though I explored many color combinations, I was conscious of the fact that I was representing global protest movements and was careful to not having anything come off as immediately American. A monochromatic approach was most successful.
Natural Paper. I didn't want the red ink to vibrate on stark white paper, especially with such small type. I chose a 60lb text weight, natural colored paper to offset this and give the book a warmer, used feel.
5.5" x 7" Perfect Bound. I kept the book small to make it feel handy and guide-like. I intentionally chose odd dimensions that led to strangely tight margins because I wanted everything to be a small protest of book norms and conventions. I chose perfect binding because as a "guide-book", I wanted it to be held in both hands and wear down at the spine as if it were seriously used in preparing for protest.
My orginal concept began with all kinds of illustrations and ideas about twisting traditional protest art to be "modern". But ultimately as I refined my concept and the content of the book, I realized I would I have to pare things down and really hone in what I wanted readers to take away. Thus the final book is primarily the methods of protest with historic annecdotes and Nathan Heller's article as moments of consciousness.
I've never made a book before. As such, I've never had to print or bind a book. I have a newfound respect for those who do this work as their livelihood. It is no easy task, and I had many iterations just fall apart in my hands. These are skills that require practice and technique. I'm proud to have made two final copies with (almost) all the pages intact.