January 18th, 2012, will be remembered as a political event, a day where technology companies and advocates took to the web to oppose SOPA and PIPA, two bills they feel would censor the internet.But what will linger most in the mind from January 18th was the visual form these protests took, the shock of opening up a familiar, indispensable webpage and finding it quite literally blacked out. As much as today is a political event, it is a striking one in the history of web design as well.We assembled some of the most arresting, intriguing, and amusing visual representations of the SOPA/ PIPA protest.
A recurring image from the protest day is this one, a newspaper headline that the website sopastrike.com made easy to embed on the webpages of supporters everywhere.
Inked Out Encyclopedia
One of the most prominent sites to go offline, Wikipedia opted for a decidedly ominous image to protest the bills.
While Google did not withhold its services or content, as Wikipedia did, it altered its doodle in support of the protests.
Craigslist In The Dark
True to form, Craigslist opted for a simple and almost graphically flat-footed approach.
Black And Red
Smaller sites took bigger risks. Here, colossalmind.com opted for an image with a whiff of anarchist iconography.
Asofterworld.com produced this elegant landing page, which looks something like a classified document overlaid on a static-filled television.
Another common trope of supporters' websites is this image, culled from an interactive graphic. Move your cursor on rationalresponders.com or other sites that adopted this image, and a spotlight illuminates text opposing the bills.
Though most sites opted to take "blackout" literally, others explored other parts of the palette. Here, redstonehost.com paid homage to its own name, and to the color we associate with stopping.
But the most colorful "blackout" page is probably this one, from Minecraft.net.
The Fourth Estate
Some publishers even strayed into advocacy. Wired.com decided to black out its headlines and images; scrolling over the redacted bits illuminates them.
Blogging Goes Black
Wordpress threw its support behind the cause, with the image shown here.
White House Humor
Not all protest sites were solemn. Here, the White House parody site whitehouse.gov1.info opted for a cartoon.
The site 941mediaproject.com decided to evoke that eternal protest hero, Futurama's Bender.
"Wait, Is That Bad?"
From thecomeandgo.tumblr.com, a fake political poster. Other humorous takes on the day of protest include this YouTube video
from Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh, "The Day The LOLCats Died."