The Negative Power of Graphic Design in the 2016 Election

As a designer I know the power of imagery. I know it sways us and effects us without us even knowing it. IT IS WHY I HAVE A JOB. I love my job. I do good things with my job. And graphic design can be so powerful when it comes to social change. This is why I am mad at how much graphic design has played a negative part in this election. Don't believe graphic design has swayed this election? Check your social media news feeds.

The negative impact I want to point out is the biased meme. These slippery little suckers seem legitimate. Seeing is believing. Right in front of you is proof that your bias is correct! But 99.99999% of the time by sharing these you aren't helping anyone. You are now part of the bias media you hate so much! And here is my nonscientific list of memes I constantly see people sharing that should never be shared.

NEVER SHARE A MEME that links back to a non-legitimate source.

When you see a meme you want to post, click on it and see where it came from. Why? Because it is most likely propaganda. You might be sharing content for a sight (or even worse some random person) that has an extremist agenda and that isn't helping anyone. You might be completely shocked when you see where it actually comes from. If the origin looks shady don't share. And my definition of shady is any source that is not a top news sight. 

This guy's shady facebook page is NOT a legitimate news source.

This guy's shady facebook page is NOT a legitimate news source.

NEVER SHARE A MEME that swears at people or calls them names.

You won't win anything by insulting people. Also, attacking others with foul language is bullying. You wouldn't say those words to people in person so don't say them online. YOU CAN NEVER TAKE IT BACK. Even if you delete the post. Someone can still find years later that you posted that. Years later when you aren't angry you will be embarrassed by what you posted.

But for real...

But for real...

NEVER SHARE A MEME that has no links to stated facts.

This one actually kills me. The imagery of these memes are so compelling people share them like fact. Hundreds of thousands of people share these LIKE ACTUAL FACTS! Take a step back before you share these. What claims are being made? Is it using numbers and percentages without saying where they came from? It kills me that images someone created are so powerful we forget to actually think if it is real before sharing these 'facts.' Also, remember our friends and family trust us and value things we say and post. Your 'facts' have just become a stronger influence in this election then the newspaper and it is a lie. Use your power wisely.

Seriously check snopes.com people.

Seriously check snopes.com people.

NEVER SHARE A MEME that shows saint vs. sinner.

Have you seen these memes that accuse a candidate of tons of things and then forgive another of all sins? Don't share them!!! For the love of graphic design don't share them! Step back. Is this bias? Is it promoting hate? Is it making claims without links? Odds are it is doing ALL of the those things. 

If people weren't on your side... they sure aren't now! 

If people weren't on your side... they sure aren't now! 

NEVER SHARE A MEME that was made to scare you.

These are straight up propaganda. They appeal to your fear. Your fear stops you from even thinking about basic facts as to why this can't be real. These are the worst! The WORST! Because they pull on our emotions. And all of our hearts are bigger than we know.

Seriously people fear is a bad place to post anything from. Check snopes.com for this.

Seriously people fear is a bad place to post anything from. Check snopes.com for this.

NEVER SHARE A MEME that fuels a fire.

Some people share memes that try to show that they are not taking sides but are still violent in subject matter (yes also funny). These are tricky in another way. Seeing this meme assures others that they are right for HATING (yes, I said hating) other's opinions and even a nutral party is on their side. You may think you are being 'Switzerland' by posting it but you are still adding fuel to the fire. Violence should have nothing to do with this election. You may get a laugh and 'everyone likes you' but you are still not helping.

Don't get me wrong! "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls" is an amazingly funny movie!

Don't get me wrong! "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls" is an amazingly funny movie!

NEVER SHARE A MEME that is too good to be true.

Because it is. It is too good to be true. Check snopes.com (I know I am a broken record). You did not just find the smoking gun to take down a campaign. I promise you this.

I swear Hilary really met Elvis! Check snopes.com!

I swear Hilary really met Elvis! Check snopes.com!

If you take one thing from this, just think before you share. Seeing lies over and over isn't good for anyone. And images are EXTREMELY powerful. Every time someone shares a false meme a graphic designer cries (that would be me). If you want to be an overachiever go through your feed and scrub it free of crappy memes! This last one you can share. It is a good one for this election! But that is my biased opinion!

This is the smartest meme on the internet and HERE is where I found it!

This is the smartest meme on the internet and HERE is where I found it!