When I was a little kid I used to watch School House Rock all the time and the one song that has never faded out of my brain is the song about the Preamble to the Constitution. Have you read it recently? It's an incredible piece of writing. In just one sentence it encapsulates the entire point of the American mission. I've always thought that if more people reflected on the Preamble they would be much less susceptible to the socialist machine that threatens America today. So much so that it's inspired me to create a series of hand-lettered posters promoting the objectives stated in the Preamble. Maybe if more people learn these concepts they will come to love our country more.
I have a lot of designers telling me that it's necessarily difficult to convert conservative messages into effective design. The reason stated is that the ideas are so deep and nuanced that you have trouble converting them into a digestible visual concept. Others say that the ideas are just too dry for the modern age. They say that dramatic, radical visuals just don't fit together with these old-fashioned values.
Total hogwash. It's time that we all remembered how radical the ideas of the American Revolution were. The notion that average citizens can govern themselves and be the masters of their government rather than the other way around has never been adopted except by the American founders. I actually think that the idea is so shocking we've normalized it in our minds as a coping mechanism. Meanwhile, troglodite ideologies such as socialism have taken on the mantle of "radical" as if subjugation, starvation, and abuse weren't really the default of human relations.
Maybe you're thinking that I've overstated the case. Granted, with the exception of President Trump it's been a long time since we've seen a conservative figure with the old-school vigorous demeanor that drove our foundation. The modern conservative movement is incredibly weak by contrast. What does every so-called figurehead or "thinker" do when a conservative man of action comes along? They cower, undermine, second-guess, and try to become a solely intellectual movement rather than stepping up. These are the people who typically publish a book every year rehashing the same old lines about our fight against leftism, but they never really do anything. So if you think I'm overstating the case because of these people, let's get the facts straight.
Our founders were definitely intellectuals but they were more so men of action. Would the conservative leaders today have penned the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble, or the Constitution and then gone to fight for what they'd written? No, I think it's clear they would have dawdled and maybe done a bit more empty writing. Modern Conservative thought leaders are content with being increasingly irrelevant word jockeys. That's why the growth of Conservative media has hardly slowed our march toward socialism. But America was built by men who understood that words and action go together. That's why they were so much more eloquent in their writing than today. Powerful writing is fueled by the resolve to act, which is what makes the message effective.
There is a reason why we call our way of life the American Experiment. However I think that Americans may have lost sight of things. That's where designers need to come in with arresting visuals. You can't get these great visuals if you're using modern thinkers for inspiration. They are dry, tame, and they lack compelling imagery because they have the minds of the antiseptic 21st century conservatism. However, go back to men like Thomas Paine, de Tocqueville, Bastiat, Jefferson, Hamilton and others. You'll find writing that has flourish begging to be made into art. Trust me, you can't help but feel the power of passages like the Preamble. Harness its radical flavor and shock the modern conservative into a real awareness of what the movement stands for.
If these words could inspire a revolution, they can also inspire revolutionary design.