Tom Geismar.(1985) Peace (My Daughter’s Hand) [Poster]
This poster was designed by Tom Geismar and published by Chermayeff &Geismar Studio, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. This poster conveys a powerful and clear message through photography, colour and semiotics. As you can see, it contains two words in two different languages, one being English and the other in Japanese, both meaning “peace”. It also gives visual of a hand being held up, an universal symbol of “stop”, giving context to the word (Ryan Hembree, 2008; 17).
The colour used for the writing in this poster to represent “peace” is red. Although this is not a befitting colour to peace, I believe that it also shows a hidden, yet powerful message. The red used in the text represents a range of seemingly conflicting emotions from passionate love to danger, violence and warfare. In general red can also indicate anger. When analysed in depth, it is clear that the hand
representing “stop” is a lot bigger in comparison to the words, I believe this is because Geismar wanted to present a message; if everyone does not work to let go of our past, peace will never come forward. From generation to generation, grudges against one another, nation to nation are imbedded into the young. If this is allowed to continue, the peace that we all long for will remain just a dream. I believe that Geismar presented the hand of his daughter in monochrome to represent history, a time where colour was absent from photographic imagery, adding colour only to the words of “peace”, representing the present, yet so small as if to say it is being pushed back by the hand of the new generation. The most important message that this poster is trying to convey to the generations is not to repeat the same mistakes.
This poster utilizes many layers of depth and meaning, which challenge viewers to decipher visually sophisticated imagery, which leads to greater satisfaction, emotional connection and memorability (Ryan Hembree, 2008: 25).
In my belief, tom Geismar designed this poster with emotions of how he feels about the issue that we are still confronting in this generation rather than trying to manipulate the viewers with a well layered out design. I sense this from the fact that Gesimar himself had lived through the Second World War, hence creating a very simple yet meaningful piece, which can be interpreted with many perspectives.