Redesigning the Bill of Rights for A Modern Age
Interview by Mackenzie Weber / Marketing Manager at Working Not Working
Creative Director + WNW Member Harun Zankel sees his latest project, in which he redesigned a series of Amendments from the Bill of Rights, as an artistic responsibility. The project juxtaposes the oft-referenced shorthand with the actual text of the centuries-old documents. The project is now live on Kickstarter, and Harun hopes it can spark some civil political discourse.
“Most Americans best know the Bill Of Rights by their shorthand, like Freedom of Speech or The Right to Bear Arms. But most of us haven't read them in their entirety and the shorthand can gloss over some key details,” reads his Kickstarter page. “I wanted to create a series of typographic images that call out this discrepancy.”
A portion of the project proceeds will go to the ACLU. The campaign appropriately ends on November 5th, just in time to vote on November 6th. Keep reading to learn how Harun balances passion projects with every day life, and why this project means so much to him.
How did the idea for "The Bill of Rights Redesigned" come about?
In looking at the landscape of our politics over the past several years, I wanted to create a piece of artwork that would both acknowledge our political divide and help to bridge the gap.
The Bill of Rights seemed like a good place to start. It's a foundational document referenced across the political spectrum. The poster idea came as I started noticing the oversimplification of the Amendments in political discussions and commentary. Juxtaposing the Amendment’s shorthand with the full text became a way to frame the issue.
What were some of the challenges and breakthroughs of bringing your vision to life?
Pursuing passion projects is always super-fulfilling, but sometimes I get a little obsessive and forget that I have a life. The key to getting my wife’s support is to actually put the project down every now and then.
The concept came fairly easily, but as I got into the execution I explored a stupid amount of hand-lettering styles. I designed the posters multiple times over before I decided on the final handwritten script, which mimics the original style from the Bill of Rights.
I haven’t created a Kickstarter before so I’m on a bit of a learning curve. It’s fairly easy to start one, but as you build out the project there are a ton of considerations. I ended up consulting with friends who had successful Kickstarter campaigns, which has really helped me navigate the process.
Do you feel like artists have a responsibility to use their creativity in service of the social and political ideas they believe in?
Artists who are more politically engaged are more interesting to me because everyone has a point of view, and why not put your beliefs on the table. That said, the best thing an artist can do is expose people to new ideas, whether those are political or not.
When I’m affected by politics or social events I’ll often integrate that into my work. I enjoy adding to the political discussion with my own interpretation of the issues.
Do you think your creative background has shaped this project? If so, how?
All of my side projects come from a combination of my life experiences and my growth as a creative. Hand-lettering has been a focus in my design work and I’ve used this project to continue to push the craft forward. As an advertising creative, I also feel pretty lucky to be able to enjoy what I do during the day and use that for what I do after work.
What's next for you?
Seeing this Kickstarter through, and then coming up with the next project that will take over my life!