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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.