Explore the history of queer design through Days of Rage, a new online exhibit documenting the posters of LGBTQIA+ activists
To pull off such an innovative and ambitious project, some pretty impressive and thoughtful website design was going to be required, and One Archives Foundation brought in Studio Lutalica, the Edinburgh-based design agency with a focus on queer and feminist design. Addressing the project, creative director Cecilia Righini explains that the overall concept would be “clean and minimal” to ensure the focus on the posters. Leading with a “simple yet striking color palette,” Cecilia explains that the studio landed on a limited contrast of two colors. But, “essentially”, they elaborate, “these aren’t actually white on black, as the combination is actually difficult to engage for some users with accessibility needs. Instead, we used a white broken/soft beige to make the experience more comfortable. Additionally, the studio has stuck to three web templates across the entire site. A conscious decision, Cecilia observes that this is one of the ways the website echoes the experience of visiting a physical gallery. “I wanted people to feel like they could walk through a defined space,” they say, “but new elements would pop up, like your eyes traveling through an exhibition space as you focus on items, descriptions and pieces.”
The aforementioned secondary material consists of various LGBTQIA+ activists and graphic designers – such as Alan Bell, Daniel Hyo Kim, Changi Moore, Silas Munro, Judy Ornelas Sisneros and Jordan Peimer – offering stories and lived experiences related to the topic of the selected posters . To best showcase this side of the content, the studio added an “Activist Mode” button, which could be toggled on and off. Disabled, visitors can view the full exhibit without curation. Switched on, viewers are offered the experience of an expert taking you on an exclusive tour, filtered and framed by the posters chosen by the activists. This focus on activism extends to the typography used. The studio applied three discordant disparate fonts, one being Street transvestite action revolutionariesa bold and punchy DIY font, taken from gender failure, an organization creating fonts since 2018 directly inspired by queer and trans posters.
The posters featured in the exhibition vary enormously in their use of imagery, type and color, but all are so impressive in their lasting power and resonance. Concluding our conversation, Cecilia identifies a few that particularly stand out for the studio. Gay is angry Cecilia identifies with the “ironic juxtaposition between the childlike rainbow color palette and illustration style versus violent text and images”. This approach, Cecilia continues, was taken by the studio when designing the site – “it doesn’t immediately scream ‘angry gay’, but digs into the typography and spends a bit of time exploring, and you’ll see that it’s is just as passionate as the work she frames.