Your Space Or Mine
Micah Purnell’s trio of posters sing out from the walls and billboards of Manchester: a rhapsody of colour to promote and celebrate communal concern. Only light can guide us out of the darkness. Purnell spies evidence of sweetness and light in the small, localised acts of kindness and consideration the coronavirus lockdown has engendered.
‘Let’s Make This Love Normal’ and ‘Kindness At Its Proper Level’ are big-hearted thoughts… Purnell’s Your Space Or Mine COVID-19 collaboration with the BUILDHOLLYWOOD family is the latest in a long line of conscientious visual interventions on the urban environment. His Add Art project promotes likeminded designers’ and artists’ work. Selling Virtues is another initiative that seeks to critically examine the slew of unsettling messages and imagery we are often bombarded with in our towns and cities.
Purnell noted that “This pandemic has made clear we can’t maintain current lifestyles; if everything stops for just a few weeks, the effects are beyond comprehension. It has exposed to some, the need for family, to others the gift of community.”
In all three poster iterations hopeful and anticipatory phrases are broken into single words that range across bands of fuchsia pink and sap green, marigold orange, bumblebee yellow and clear sky blue. The minimal design – five bars of colour on a black ground – make Purnell’s heartfelt calls for fellow feeling all the more prominent.
Block black capitalised letters and no-frills kerning qualify the rainbow sentiment. Yes, the isolation, rigours and grief of past weeks, months have often bought out, demanded the best of people. But the stark design communicates an urgency: we cannot afford to lose sight of newfound acts of kindness, love and community. Neither must we forget the light these times have shone on social and occupational injustice.
There’s a lot of talk about things returning to ‘normal’, getting back to work, rebooting the economy… We’re not going back to normal. We will go forward to something else. We have to. Visual creatives with a conscience can perhaps help direct our future path, our future actions, so as to achieve post COVID-19 a fairer, kinder and more inclusive ‘Community Like Never Before’.