A conversation about revolution

Along with Trump and Brexit, the late 2010s will go down in history as a period defined by activism. We’ve seen the Women’s Marches, the Black Lives Matter movement, numerous pro- and anti-EU demonstrations, and a growing number of protests calling for urgent action to tackle the climate crisis.

People are frustrated and anxious about the future, and this has led us to question the world we live in – and the accepted systems that have long dictated business and politics. It has also prompted a great deal of soul-searching within the creative industries, with creatives lending their skills to campaigns and causes, and questioning whether we need a code of ethics for disciplines such as design.

For our Conversation issue, we invited two creatives – Clive Russell and Lucienne Roberts – to discuss the idea of change and revolution. Russell is Design Director at This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll, a London studio that specialises in creating identities for causes, cultural groups and community projects. He’s also part of the art department at climate change action group Extinction Rebellion.

Roberts is founder of LucienneRoberts+, a studio working with clients in politics, education and the arts, and co-founder of publishing and curatorial project GraphicDesign&. She recently curated Hope to Nope, an exhibition on political design at the Design Museum in London, and has written several books, including Good: An Introduction to Ethics in Graphic Design.

Both designers are firmly on the left of the political spectrum and have consciously resisted making work for corporations, preferring instead to focus on socially conscious projects. They also have a keen interest in design’s impact to drive change and raise awareness of issues and causes. We brought together Roberts and Russell in London to discuss protests, politics, the power and limits of design, and their conflicted relationship with the craft.

Clive Russell and Lucienne Roberts, in conversation at the Barbican café in London