Al Qaeda and the myriad groups that seek to emulate it are evil, without question. But they also happen to be modernizing their public face, at break-neck speed, translating their message to the Web and to magazines. What they're running into--in addition to annoyances with Photoshop and Pagemaker--are stereotypically Western middle-management questions of marketing and tone. And you can see that tension in the design of their materials.
Here, the cover of the "Manchester Manual," a how-to training guide seized by the FBI in 2005. The cover shows primitive graphics of the sort you'd expect from a low-tech, underground organization...
Usually, Jihadist imagery is gritty and terrestrial. Here, we get Jihadis IN SPAAAAAAACE. The poster praises Imam Anwar Awlaki, the "Osama of the Internet," who reportedly had ties to Fort Hood mass murderer Army Major Nidal Hassan, "underwear bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. It also praises Photoshop Elements, which provides those snazzy lens flares.
You've got to assume that as Al Qaeda becomes increasingly tech savvy, they'll become more image savvy as well--Hassad al-Mujahidin, the phallic-covered magazine we noted before just ran an article, "The Camera: A Weapon without Bullets." Which in turn, will help spread their message further. We'll have to be equally creative in countering.