Illustrations That Speak Loudly, Without Screaming

The meaning of Noma Bar's politically charged illustrations only becomes clear at a second glance.

The graphic designer Noma Bar tackles some of the most hotly debated issues of our time--including oil politics, global warming, and corporate greed. As an illustrator for The Economist, Esquire, Wallpaper, The Guardian, and others, he has to summarize sprawling issues in a single image. His strategy: Using the negative space of an illlustration, to drive home the stickiest points of a conflict.

That work is featured in a new book, Negative Space, which was just published by Mark Batty Publishers. Via Creative Review comes a sneak peak at the work. The pieces work in interesting way, mentally: Like one of those negative space illusions, the meaning snaps into focus only after a split-second of conversation. The effect can be uncanny--like a lightbulb going off in your head.

This one illustrated an article about the business of wartime provisions--with an everyday business scene embedded in the tank:

Noma Bar

From an article about how CEO's invest their personal wealth:

Noma Bar

From a piece exploring the oil wealth generated after the takeover of Iraq, this illustration, with maximum economy, makes the fairly bold point that political and humanitarian goals played only a small role in the invasion and its aftermath:

Noma Bar

From an article about younger women dating older men:

Noma Bar

Check out more examples at Creative Review.

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