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Editions of 100 – Tsunami Appeal

I’m sure you’re shocked by recent events in Japan as we all are here at FormFiftyFive. Daniel Freytag from Berg/Editions of 100 has been trying to think of a way to help and has designed a special limited edition print which will is now available for sale through the Editions of 100 website. 100% of all proceeds from sales will be donated to the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal. I have bought the first print to get the ball rolling so there is 99 editions of this left which will hopefully help to make some small difference to those whose property, homes and lives have been shattered by this disaster.

The poster is Litho printed and available in B2 size Justin Hobson from Fenner paper has very kindly donated the paper needed for the print.

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Have your say

    Andy Russell
    15th Mar 2011
    10:16 pm
  1. Having just purchased one of these posters by way of donation I have since read this highly thought provoking article over at

    Wondered how others felt about it?

  2. CookieCookie
    16th Mar 2011
    10:58 am
  3. I have to say Andy I agree with a lot of the points in this article. I’ve seen a few of these posters in the last few days, and frankly find them all distasteful.

    The whole idea of trying to find some kind of ‘smile in the mind’ idea using the flag/rising sun just feels wrong considering what is going on over there at the moment, and dare I say it some kind of desperate self promotion.

    The sentiment was probably there from these designers but I just feel like they have got is so wrong. I’m sure they will be printed beautifully and the paper stock will be nice etc, but just make a donation, we don’t need a poster. And like the author of the article rightly points out, what do I do with one of these if I bought one? So get your wallet out and go here:

    Anyway, like you say Andy, it’ll be interesting to hear other people’s take on this, but that is mine.

  4. Deniz
    16th Mar 2011
    11:19 am
  5. Cookie – I could not agree more. Have seen some people make the comment that the funds these have raised shows that the posters have a place and serve a purpose – but my first reaction when I saw them was that I would rather just make a direct donation. I don’t need the incentive of a poster to help out my fellow human beings. And the whole thing doesn’t sit right with me – if someone wants to help raise money for real, volunteer – this just smacks of some sort of self-promotion, riding the tailcoats of a tragedy. Probably not the intent of the designers, but I find the whole thing distasteful. Just my thoughts!

  6. Daniel FreytagDaniel Freytag
    16th Mar 2011
    11:30 am
  7. I wouldn’t normally reply to this post but it’s left me feeling livid.

    I have to say you are missing the point if you think this is about design. It’s irrelevant what you do with the poster. Who cares where you hang it.
    The point is that if you can help – then help!

    In the last 12 hours we have raised over £2700 for the Japan Red Cross Appeal from sales from our ‘distasteful’ poster. Bought by people who care and want to help.

  8. GreigGreig
    16th Mar 2011
    12:07 pm
  9. I have also had a few thoughts on this after some conversations and indeed reading the very well written, above article. I also bought one of the prints and to be honest bought it without really thinking about it, Daniel who’s heart is in the right place here, emailed me and asked if I’d spread the word, I felt it would be hypocritical to do so and encourage others to buy one when I hadn’t so I did.

    In hindsite, having read that article and thinking it through I agree with most points I feel that I perhaps jumped in without thinking it through fully. I never bought the print with intent of putting it up somewhere though, it never crossed my mind to think it would look good somewhere. More just a reason fort me to part with £50 for a good cause which in all honesty might not have happened otherwise. So for that alone and whether or not the method/medium is correct it is helping a cause which desperately needs all the help it can get. I think the major issue with all these prints appearing is perhaps the timing of them, I do think the majority have their heart in the right place but I think that creating something which is intended to visually ‘mark’ a devastating, life altering event like this before it has even been realised and fully understood is perhaps in bad taste. Some very famous visuals came out after 911 such as the Time magazine cover black on black and Milton Glaser I love NY more than ever redesign but I think the timing and sympathetic nature of these were supportive, galvanising, uplifting an done with humility and a sense of honesty which I agree some of these prints, however not Daniels I must add, appearing are not. I would also encourage anyone who can make a donation to make a donation above, but dont blame Daniel for sticking his head up and doing something which will raise nearly £5000 for the cause, whether you agree with the methods or not he is at least he is doing something and genuinely trying to help in the way that he can, how many of you reading this can actually say that? Everyone who feels strongly enough to comment negatively on this and hasn’t donated money or their time in any way to the cause should hang their heads in shame.

  10. RydoRydo
    16th Mar 2011
    12:37 pm
  11. Well said Greig. Regardless of individual views about how appropriate these methods are, if they are encouraging people to donate — with or without the receipt of a poster in return — then the effort is to be commended.

  12. SeanSean
    16th Mar 2011
    12:53 pm
  13. I too agree with many of the points in John’s well written article. Unlike some on Twitter, I don’t believe Daniel is doing this for self-promotion purposes, I believe this to be a genuine attempt to help in the best way he can; deisgn. And has raised much more money than he could have donated alone in doing so. Well done Daniel.

    In contrast to this, how do people feel about buying existing artwork (not created specifically for this purpose) with the money going to the cause. Would you still associate the artwork with the disaster? Would you hang that on your wall?

    A couple of examples — Mike Perry is currently donating 100% of his online store sales for the entire month to help Japan, which has currently raised over £7000. Mr Bingo did a similar thing selling existing prints for the Haiti relief effort which raised £2,485 in just 4 days. An amazing feat. (I’m sure there are many more examples of similar efforts, please let us know via the comments.)

    I don’t doubt for a second that anybody is disputing the fact that it’s a great thing to generate additional funding for Japan. And aside from going over and picking up a shovel, if selling artwork is the most productive way that you can help, then so be it. Well done to the likes of Daniel for doing something productive, how many of us can say that? There’s a very thin line here… People are easily offended when it’s such a delicate subject.

  14. James Greenfield
    16th Mar 2011
    1:30 pm
  15. Daniel: I can see why it makes you livid, but if you stand back from the personal element it’s hard not see some validity in the other points. No one is questioning your intention, but a poster which basically commemorates a disaster isn’t going to sit well with everyone.

    Think of that poster on a wall in someones house in a few years. I personally would find it odd having it framed on the wall, but that is just me.

    There is also the issue that a lot of people think getting something for donating is questionable. I don’t feel that, but can see the arguments.

  16. Steve Leard
    16th Mar 2011
    1:33 pm
  17. Has design sold out so much to point that designers who try to raise money for good causes are lambasted with accusations of self publicity?

    Design used to stand for more than branding and being the aid of selling numerous units of tosh, it used to concern itself with humanity, politics, you know, the world around us.

    What’s wrong with designers using their skills for the good?

  18. Gui
    16th Mar 2011
    1:35 pm
  19. hmm while i dont like the obvious inherent self promotion aspect at the heart of these posters, and yes, then there’s the weird morbid aspect of having a print that celebrates, commemorates an event that ravaged a country

    i just find the idea of a poster for help such a banal effort – which in a sense trivializes the incident in itself.

    “I wouldn’t part with cash normally, but the fact that i might get a poster out of it – means that it’s money well spent” as a state of mind, although insightful, just makes me exasperated.

    with all the advances of modern technology, connectivity and the resources that it brings – is a poster the best that we as a profession can do?

  20. James KirkupJames Kirkup
    16th Mar 2011
    3:00 pm
  21. No poster for Christchurch? No poster for Libya?

    From a graphic point of view, some of these are really nice, but what with a new one popping up each day this week they’ve really promoted everyone jumping on a ‘I can get some good recognition by doing one of these’ bandwagon.

    But saying that… nice one for raising some cash – let’s get on with some direct donations.

  22. Jes
    16th Mar 2011
    3:07 pm
  23. I would like to comment on this.

    On Monday, I decided to donate 100% of the proceeds of any sales I made from my prints to the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal. These were not newly designed pieces, just items that were already in my shop.

    The reason I did this is that I really couldn’t afford to give more than a couple of pounds myself, but felt that by generating more income through the sales of my prints, I could raise more money.

    What’s is the difference between selling an artwork to raise money & going on the sponsored walk, or a celebrity highlighting an issue etc? Nobody questions people holding fundraisers etc. for crisis appeals, or accuses the organisers of self-promotion, so why is it viewed as such when a designer tries to raise some extra cash for an important cause?

    I agree that the tone has to be carefully considered though.

  24. Marc
    16th Mar 2011
    3:10 pm
  25. I don\’t believe there is anything wrong with designing/illustrating then selling a piece of art to generate a substantial amount of cash to help Japan get back on it\’s feet. But to base a design around commemoration is plain dumb, and a little morbid. Celebrate the country and it\’s history; it\’s influence on western culture.

    It\’s clear that Daniel has laid out a nice design, but his choice of content is there to look pretty, it\’s only function is reminding the buyer of what happened. I\’m sure most people would rather forget and move on.

  26. Steven Bonner
    16th Mar 2011
    3:20 pm
  27. I was asked earlier in the week if I’d donate some work to a postcard project in aid of the Japanese tragedy and immediately said yes. Then the accusations of sick self promotion starting coming out over the wires and a few of us got cold feet, rendering the project dead in the water. At the time I justified it by saying I’d feel more comfortable simply donating financially.

    Now I’ve had a couple of days to think and form an opinion and I can say without a word of a lie that I’m ashamed of myself for allowing a judgemental few to get in the way of trying to do something good. Could I afford to donate £2000 personally to the Red Cross? No. Would I feel bad about helping raise such an amount through my work? Absolutely not.

    I can’t believe the design community has become so cynical that its first instinct when seeing someone try to use their skills positively, is to decry it as a sick way of using tragedy to bolster their profile. This industry has become all about who promotes themselves most successfully rather than about good work and its slowly crushing the spirit that it used to have. Personally I’m fed up of it.

    If another opportunity comes up I’ll be grabbing it with both hands. Maybe it’ll be anonymous, maybe my name will be attached but so what? If we allow the cynics to dictate how we choose to use our abilities, then the creative industries have really become a sorry excuse for what they should be.

  28. Jeffrey Bowman
    16th Mar 2011
    3:50 pm
  29. I had a spare print

    I got asked to donate it for an auction, i did

    the money is going to Japan, i hope it help’s

    This above all things is the main goal…

  30. Aidan Nolan
    16th Mar 2011
    3:54 pm
  31. With the disaster less than a week old I noticed only days after designs started to surface trying to raise money to help those in need in Japan… the majority of us can’t go out there and physically help nor can we donate a bucket load of our own money – as much as we’d like too, it’s just not possible.

    What we can do is utilise the skills we have. Which means putting our work to genuine good use. It’s highly cynical to suggest that this just some self-promotion project designed make a name for whichever designer decides to create a piece of work to help raise money.

    If it draws peoples attention and help’s raise more money for the people affected by this natural disaster then I’m all for it. The point isn’t self-promotion it’s to help those who need help the most – the people of Japan.

  32. Jack
    16th Mar 2011
    4:17 pm
  33. Most of the issues have been raised already above, but I felt that I would like to throw my views in the pot.

    When I first came across this post I had nothing but a positive view towards it. I have donated towards the relief efforts in Japan through other channels but have found it difficult to donate the amount I desire due to my financial situation. I agree the act of offering a reward in exchange for donations is a bit of a moral grey area, but the way I see it is that for those who struggle finding the money to donate as much as they would like this is a good way for them to justify the outlay. I am aware that this sounds cold and heartless, but if anything encourages people to donate money to a good cause then I say it is more than acceptable.

    As for the issue of self promotion, until I read the article above, it hadn\’t even entered my mind that a project such as this would be a marketing tool. I find how little time it has taken some people to label it as such a little disturbing.

    To summarise I feel that any act that creates more cash flow for a good cause should be commended, regardless of the intentions of the person behind it may be. Either way the money from the project is going to the right place, any additional business that results from it for the designer is down to the person who employs him or her. We all have a choice.

  34. Ross Colquhoun
    16th Mar 2011
    5:27 pm
  35. I have read through all of your comments. After careful consideration, I can’t help but feel that we are getting bogged down in debate over the morality of design, which might actually be getting in the way of providing vital monetary aid to some really desperate people in effected areas of Japan.

    That said, here is my tuppence worth:

    Daniel is a good guy, he has just raised nearly £5000 for charity in a little over a 24 hours. 100% of which is going directly to the British Red Cross to help the victims in Japan.

    This means that near enough 100 individuals are content that they have donated money to a good cause and I’d imagine that if he were to release even more, that amount would be far greater. I sincerely hope that this debate has not put him off doing so.

    If we are brutally honest, it might also have encouraged some to donate even more than they usually would. Such are people.

    Maybe I just have thick skin, but I’m not sure I really understand why there is an issue about ‘morbid tone’ in a print which is about an extremely grim topic. In the same way that a war art and memorials reminds us that we should ‘never forget’, why should a graphic print be any different? The fragility of our world nor the victims should never be forgotten, and you would hardly expect such a print about such a topic to be all flowers and sunbeams, would you? I apologise if that sounds harsh, I just don’t don’t understand the problem.

    I always thought that it was a designers prerogative to come up with creative ways of raising money for charity, of course you have to sensitive about certain subjects, but I don’t see any insensitivity in this case.

    On a final note, I sincerely hope that this debate has not deterred others from using their creativity to help charity. I, for one, would encourage it.

  36. Tim
    16th Mar 2011
    6:58 pm
  37. I don’t have much of a problem with the selling and producing of screen prints but just rather the content of the design. For the nazis to arrive at their iconic symbol, they warped a crucifix.

    I think you need to be very careful when your taking something as treasured as a national flag and incorporating it with a clever, albeit.. let’s be honest, obvious solution. Being visually witty is a fantastic outlet for a designer, but being appropriate when visually witty is a responsibility. How would the British public feel is someone were to warp a union jack? Our disconnect from a continent on the other side of the globe seems to have us forgetting a fundamental respect.

  38. SImon Newsome
    17th Mar 2011
    9:57 am
  39. @Tim the Nazi’s didn’t warp a crucifix

  40. Vinesh Shah
    17th Mar 2011
    11:19 am
  41. It saddens me that an industry that I am trying to break into would crucify an act of good intentions, and in turn devalue the importance of the act.

    Needless to say that “all art is self-promotion” at the end of the day, but when put to effective use to highlight an issue, should we not feel a sense of pride that someone is using a tool we as designers employ, and encourage this in any way we can? Especially if it aids a culture that many in the design world have drawn inspiration from? (directly or indirectly)

    Times are hard at the moment, pockets don’t run that deep, so if money is raised in a (legit) manner that is both thought provoking and striking, surely that effort is something we shouldn’t deter others from contributing to also.

    Ok, so there are two sides of the coin to take into account and blah blah, but when that becomes so far above and beyond the point of helping a cause, you don’t do it any favors, and end up hurting those that need help. Sure people can donate direct, but if the amount received is far greater from selling a print, than that is all the validation you need to accept it as a positive act.

    I urge those who feel opposed to this method of contributing to a bigger cause, don’t feel the need to highlight the negative aspect as it is in no way as important and only shows a sense of bitterness to a profession you belong to.

    Daniel, keep doing what you’re doing… !


  42. Rob
    17th Mar 2011
    12:14 pm
  43. Just look at the numbers. The poster mentioned in the article raised $7000 dollars. The Editions of 100 poster has raised £4500 in less than one day, with 100% of that amount going to charity. That is all that matters. Yes, i do think that more people should be motivated to donate anyway, regardless of whether or not they get anything out of it but fundamentally if you are motivating people to donate that can never be a bad thing. What is the difference between this and the fellas selling donuts on Brick Lane to raise money for Amnesty International last weekend or Poppy\’s on remembrance day? (those BASTARDS!) Do you really believe that more money could have been raised just by saying “get your wallet out and get on the red cross website”?

    As for the poster itself, I think that the Help Japan poster does seem vaguely tasteless in its imagery (although the i find the Daniel Freytag poster very beautiful) probably because the incident is so fresh in our minds, but that is not necessarily a bad thing? A lot of people seem to think here that the only place and purpose of a poster, piece of design or artwork is in your lounge, as decoration to make you feel warm and fuzzy. Maybe I could hang this poster in my studio to make sure that I do not forget about the extreme difficulty and struggle to that so many people have now encountered. If you think a poster’s sole purpose is decoration…well….

    At the end of the day, you can be damn sure that the money raised by these posters is worth a hell of a lot more than any of the hot air and time spent on writing these articles dressing down people who are genuinely trying their best to help, regardless of whether or not they get anything out of it.

    I did not buy either poster.

  44. Tom Vining
    17th Mar 2011
    1:38 pm
  45. How can using your own skills, business etc to raise money for a good cause possibly be a bad thing? As long as it results in money going to those in need it’s a very good thing in my book.

    It’s sad that people can be so cynical and miss the point in someone’s clearly good intentions, and I hope this doesn’t deter others from doing similar projects to raise money and awareness for what has happened in Japan.

    I wanted to get my donation out there quickly and so gave directly to the Red Cross, but people can donate however they like and by whatever means they feel comfortable with.

  46. Stephen Kelman
    18th Mar 2011
    4:32 pm

    Anyone still not cynical about this?

  48. Luke TongeLuke Tonge
    19th Mar 2011
    12:44 am
  49. Stormtroopers???

  50. SeanSean
    19th Mar 2011
    12:21 pm
  51. Debate continues over on Eye Blog

  52. Marcus Leis Allion
    24th Mar 2011
    1:31 am
  53. Q1: Did these methods of critiquing work exist 100 years ago?
    A1: Yes.

    Q2: Did these modes of producing work exist even 20 years ago?
    A2: No.

    Then the critiques fail to critically investigate and instead post ill thought out opinion in its place.

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