The Mandela95 Poster Project invited artists to honor Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday and life, through the design of an A2-sized poster. Of the submissions, 95 would be chosen to comprise an exhibit and tour the world.
We knew an A2 poster couldn’t express Mandela’s spirit, but the size sparked an idea: what if our poster showed the dimensions of his injustice—the 27 years he spent in a small cell?
At first glance, it read, “He illuminated the world from an 8-foot cell.” But there was more, as the poster unfolded into an 8 x 7 rectangle on the ground—the size of his cell at Robben Island Prison. Our poster was chosen from over 700 entries to be part of the exhibit. We then took it to spaces around the world. Hundreds gathered, and we filmed as they not only shared Mandela’s experience, but felt his spirit.
In June 2014, we were awarded a Gold Design Lion Award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. In April 2015, we were awarded a Black and Gold Cube in Design by the Art Directors Club for this work. In December, we were also declared winners in AIGA’s 2015 Cased competition, which honors inspiring work that represents the value of design. These humbling moments of recognition gave us the opportunity to continue to celebrate Mandela with the world. A simple, shareable experience that invited people to be a part of his profound legacy.