NAMING THE DOCUMENTARY
The People’s (insert fake benefit here) is a common naming system in “communist” or “socialist” countries such as North Korea. Here are a few examples:
- Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
- Korean People’s Army
- Supreme People’s Assembly
Naming things in this way is a method used to influence the ideology of the population and to promote the idea of collective ownership of these institutions. The truth is, the only thing in North Korea the people share is The People’s Crisis.
CREATING THE DESIGN
While the documentary focused on the people, the greatest constraint for this project was not being able to show people’s actual faces, as revealing identities of North Koreans inside or outside of the country would be too great of a risk. Keeping with the name concept, the creative team began to research North Korean propaganda to source imagery.
Visual propaganda is widely used in North Korea as a method to influence the ideology of the population. As you can see in the image below, propaganda is not just placed on street posters, but North Koreans are made to be active participants in the propagation (look closely, this image is created with thousands of people holding up colored “pixels” to create one of the largest propaganda displays in the world).
Image: Roman Harak
North Korean propaganda displays images of people that are happy, healthy, and in full support of the regime. Our creative team thought this was a little misleading, so we decided to correct it. The team repurposed propaganda posters, to represent the people affected by the abuses of the regime. The new “propaganda” design also portrayed the collective spirit of the North Korean people, the cultivation of which may be a necessary component to ending the crisis. Below are a few examples of North Korean propaganda posters the team repurposed to create the documentary design.
For those nerdy visual types, notice how the people in the posters are never looking at the viewer. Propaganda people are often staring at something outside the frame of the image, which gives the impression of aloofness to their current situation, and a total dedication to a distant power (the regime). The creative team was intentional in its placement of the people on the dvd cover, to have people looking towards the center title. Similar to North Korean propaganda, this showed a unified people, but changing the meaning from the real propaganda, these people are focused on their current situation, the crisis, rather than a total dedication to the regime.
The typography and layout for the cover works to illustrate the idea of a North Korea as the “red box”. By keeping each text element inside a box, and the people outside these boxes, the layout speaks to a closed off country, but also to a people intentionally denied information from outside their boundaries.
The People’s Crisis DVD is available from the LiNK Store.
TONY SASSO | Creative Director