After the tragic incidents which occurred in Paris, the masses took to social media for support. Messages of solace, love, and sorrow were all expressed through words and images. It's beautiful to see so many people from around the world unite even under the worst of circumstances to shine some light in such a dark hour.
Before hearing the news yesterday afternoon, my fiancé and I had been researching supplies for our bug-out/earthquake bag. The search took a backseat while following the events, work, and discussion around the state of affairs occurred. When the hunt resumed, I began to type into amazon's search bar for "emergency supplies" and made it as far as typing "emer" before stopping in my tracks. Amazon had implemented their message of support with an extremely simple yet effective design.
One color, one graphic, and one word combined to create endless messages. Not to mention the graphic and type in the top right corner used as global elements in the top bar added even more impact. The design is powerful in its simplicity.
This is a prime example of how design is used for meaning. A majority of people (although the thinking is changing more so nowadays) believe design is just for making things pretty. And while that is an objective, it is not necessarily the main goal. We, designers, are storytellers. We are people with messages to be conveyed which are to not just be absorbed but rather to ignite discussion, thoughts, and in some cases, for people to take action. This design by amazon pushed the state of affairs point blank to the viewer.
Amazon is not the only site to make changes which demonstrate support. Facebook brought back the profile picture filter using the French flag's colors and design. To some, the idea of changing a profile photo seems incidental, meaningless. But to others, it can mean a great deal. After the gay marriage ruling by the Supreme Court in the U.S. earlier this year, Facebook revealed this feature of the profile picture filter with a rainbow color scheme. Millions of people changed their image to demonstrate support for the cause. Members of the LGBTQ community responded by stating that the image change was meaningful to them when seeing their straight peers visually advocate for the cause . I hope that now, there is a similar effect with the current feature. The design brings about conversation and awareness. When some do not know how to act or do not have the means to financially or physically provide assistance, there is an outlet to visually express their feelings. What may seem like a small action to some could potentially provide a large impact for another.
Design may not save the world but it will certainly help to bring awareness, conversation, and ideas to the forefront. And in my eyes, that certainly takes us one step closer.