BBH New York graphic ads show flipside of arguments for Guardian US

The Guardian US has launched its first US advertising campaign, created by BBH New York with graphics from Noma Bar

guardianusadcampaignv001web_0.jpg - BBH New York graphic ads show flipside of arguments for Guardian US - 5145

The Guardian US has launched its first US advertising campaign, with striking graphic illustrations from Noma Bar.

Created with BBH New York, the VoiceYourView outdoor ad campaign uses Bar’s illustrations to depict both sides of a core political debate in the US – individual freedom versus government regulation. The campaign focuses on four key debates, on internet privacy, gun control (poster above), women in the military and the use of condoms in the adult film industry. Each illustration shows one side of the issue in question when viewed one way, but the opposing side when flipped upside-down.

Two sides to the gun control argument

Women in the military: for or against?

In addition, a microsite offers more information and statistics, again allowing visitors to ‘flip’ between different sides to the debate. It also logs readers’ submissions and tracks their votes in real time, and will include Guardian coverage of these issues.

The microsite allows readers to access data and Guardian content on all issues

The use of condoms in the adult film industry

Bar admits that the project, and creating one image that enables the viewer to engage in two sides of a message, was an interesting artistic challenge. “Working with negative space and double flip imagery is not uncommon to me. It’s quite simple to achieve this with portraits and opposing themes such as good v bad, young v old,” he adds. “But when the image is required to work both for and against, back to front and upside down, things can get very challenging. Next stop, triple flip imagery!”

The campaign also integrates mobile and social elements that encourage viewers to take photos of particular sides of the issues they support, and upload them to Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #VoiceYourView.

Agency BBH New York
Chief creative officer John Patroulis
Creative director Caprice Yu
Art director Devon Hong
Illustration Noma Bar


CR in print
The March issue of CR magazine celebrates 150 years of the London Underground. In it we introduce a new book by Mark Ovenden, which is the first study of all aspects of the tube’s design evolution; we ask Harry Beck authority, Ken Garland, what he makes of a new tube map concept by Mark Noad; we investigate the enduring appeal of Edward Johnston’s eponymous typeface; Michael Evamy reports on the design story of world-famous roundel; we look at the London Transport Museum’s new exhibition of 150 key posters from its archive; we explore the rich history of platform art, and also the Underground’s communications and advertising, past and present. Plus, we talk to London Transport Museum’s head of trading about TfL’s approach to brand licensing and merchandising. In Crit, Rick Poynor reviews Branding Terror, a book about terrorist logos, while Paul Belford looks at how a 1980 ad managed to do away with everything bar a product demo. Finally, Daniel Benneworth-Grey reflects on the merits on working home alone. Buy your copy here.

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  • Felipe


  • david
  • Great work from one of our favourite illustrators

  • Mustafa

    Supremely offended by the “Terrorist” one, which features some very unpleasant and frankly racist shorthands/stereotypes demoninative of Arabs – the large nose, the beard, the skull cap – features prevalent among many Muslim, Christian and Jewish Arabs.

    As an Israeli-born, Jewish designer, Noma Bar should really know better – how damaging and hurtful these type of ethnocentric graphics can be to a race-faith based communities. I wonder how much the Guardian US and BBH New York guided and/or approved the final aesthetic of that poster in particular.

  • Shamus

    @Mustafa – When you say you’re a designer, did you mean architect? I ask because you made a gigantic mountain out of a very small molehill.
    You’re clearly seeing what you want to see and projecting your deep-set resentment towards western portrayal of Terrorism – as an English-born designer, I honestly saw a shady looking fellow, wearing a bandana and goatee – if anything, that seems pretty French to me – any French designers / viewers here as offended as Mustafa?

    I hope that you’re trolling, Mustafa because you are sincerely butthurt about that poster – how else is the nose going to work as an inverted human character? Not as effectively as this.

    This is not an ehthnocentric attack on race-based communities and that is why the Guardian US and BBH New York approved this.

    You need to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

  • nick

    yep, my first thought was total olly moss ripoff

  • Charlotte (creative Director)

    Noma Bar done it much before olly moss on his lovely guardian illustration and for ITV
    Noma Bar is the master!

  • Mustafa

    @Shamus – what an elegant and articulate response. Props to the CR moderators for allowing a vulgar attack [“butthurt”] on my character. If anyone is “trolling” this forum, it’s evidently you.

    I explained quite clearly, in a breakdown of interpretations and connotations, the implication of the visual triggers Noma has so carefully considered and executed to ensure the general public construe the face he created as the portrait of a terrorist. It’s a great stretch to claim you see a goatee where there’s evidently a beard, and yet again you can’t explain away the strong nose – historically used as a shorthand for Jewish and/or Arab faces.

    It is the role of a designer-illustrator [and anyone who commissions them] to understand how audiences will respond and interpret the work being produced; primarily to ensure the message is effectively communicated and secondarily, to ensure that there is no room for misinterpretation of said message which may lead to offense or harm.

    I suggest you read my critique more carefully – I never professed that I am an architect or a designer, I was referring to Noma Bar who is both an illustrator and a designer.

    Communities like the one I am from and indeed that Noma himself is from are often attacked, misrepresented and stereotyped in by such media and mediums. To deny the implication or [historic] connotation these interpretive images have is to frankly ignore the bitter cultural and political realities that we all live in and are judged and affected by.

    To be clear, this is not an issue of political correctness [which frankly masks and censors the honesty of others], nor am I suggesting this is an “attack,” this is an issue of how design, as a universal communication medium represents both people and politics, something which both the Guardian US and Noma Bar I’m sure are more than aware of – which makes the profile used in that ‘Terrorist’ poster all the more offensive and unpleasant – words I used to describe that piece in my original comment.

  • Stephen

    A valid point but do artists/designers ever really ‘own’ a style? Olly Moss took inspiration from earlier designers as I expect Noma Bar has done (it is worth noting too that the Noma Bar work for ITV was also commissioned by BBH).

    Personally I think it’s great work that encapsulates the idea in a visually striking way.

    @Mustafa …I hope you’re trolling, it sounds like you are.

  • paul

    wasn’t the other noma bar one done in 2011, the Olly moss was 2010…so olly has been ripped off twice!

  • PatrickBurgoyne

    @ Mustafa
    The comment was that ‘you are sincerely butthurt about that poster’ – I don’t see how that is an attack on your character. It just seems to be another, albeit slightly crude, way of saying that you’ve got an issue with it.

    @ paul and others claiming ‘ripping off’, with all due respect to Olly Moss, this has been Noma Bar’s style for many years

  • Kevin

    @ Mustafa
    I’ll admit that design is open in personal interpretation, but you are clearly seeing something that really isn’t there. A mute point I know but a goatee is a beard, can you please explain where else the beard is in this image – all I see is a goatee beard, and then a yellow top with the line from the face acting as a zip. When I first saw the image I instantly thought of the mask used by the protagonist in V for vendetta, or dick turpin with the face mask across the eyes.
    I too sincerely hope that you are trolling otherwise you are accusing someone to suit your own agenda.

  • Katya

    Agree with Patrick, no one can create ideas like Noma Bar!
    He started his style more than 10 years ago…
    Many designers try to ripping off his style,
    What a shame for those designers who doesn’t have integrity!!!
    including Olly Moss, might be the right time for him to move on and create his own style & stop toddle behind Noma Bar.

  • Mustafa

    @ Stephen @ Kevin

    So articulating and explaining my interpretation of the imagery in that one poster – not Noma Bar’s style or career – means I am “trolling”? I’ve seen trolling on this blog-site before and it goes along the lines of Shamus calling me “butthurt.”

    @ Patrick

    My understanding was that this is a blog for professional and personal critique on work – not against people. If you don’t see the problem with someone calling someone else “butthurt” – which as you said is crude because it suggests anal rape – then that’s clearly your issue as an Editor.

    Good to know the position of the editor and readers of this site. Disappointing indeed.

  • PatrickBurgoyne

    @ Mustafa

    As far as I’m aware ‘butthurt’ = ‘An inappropriately strong negative emotional response from a perceived personal insult. ‘ ie the equivalent of getting your knickers in a twist about something as we say in the UK. Nothing more.

  • Paul

    Patrick, I’m not saying the styles are similar, nomas are very different to ollys obviously, in the same way Paul Davis is different to Marion deuchars. i think the comments are about the concept and conceptually the rip off on that one poster is clear. the others are fascinating but I would have preferred to see another conceptual approach, it just feels too close.

  • Kevin

    @ Mustafa
    I think you may have misunderstood the term ‘trolling’ in a similar way to ‘butthurt’.
    I dont think It’s the fact that you have opinion that is leading people to ‘hope you are trolling’, but the way you are seeing something in an image that isn’t there to anyone else.
    Noma Bar’s work allows the viewer to take what they want from the image, I remember a few weeks ago on this blog there were differing interpretations of the front cover of Time Out. I guess we see what we want to see!

  • m-rk

    Adding to the terrorist/butthurt debate, I see a guy with an afro, a prosthetic nose and a really, really, really skinny tie…

  • Though a nice idea, I don’t think the ‘Keep Out the Terrorists’ poster works that well. I see a bungling cat burglar with a Kenneth Williams expression – all that’s missing is a black-and-white-striped top and bag of swag.

    As an occasional burglar myself I am supremely offended by this attempt to stereotype burglars as Kenneth Williams fans. The designer should have been more sensitive to the fact that burglars prefer Sid James.

  • Maxworth

    All the cry babies say ripoff and racist once more, please.

  • God concept, although hardly groundbreaking when advertising newspapers, but very well executed.