The power of social media can be shown by touching upon the terror attacks that occurred in Paris, on the 13th of November 2015. The minimalistic image above was created by French born graphic designer, Jean Jullien. Now living in London he also creates work through illustration, photography, video, costumes and installations.
Jean Jullien head about the terror attacks while he was on holiday and the image was created quickly in his sketchbook with a brush and ink. There was no rough sketches, he says it was just an instinctive reaction. His initial thought was peace, that at that moment we all needed peace.
The image which was uploaded on Julien’s Instagram account has approximately 175,000 ‘likes’ and more than 4,000 comments. It has been shared on thousands of Instagram pages, Facebook and Twitter pages. These included several famous people who also shared the image on their social networks. The image has gone on to be applied to posters and t-shirts. Despite the generally supportive response to his illustration, Jean stated that he has no positive thoughts about the impact that the image had around social media. He stated in an interview with Wired that:
‘The things that need to spread, spread.’ (Gonzalez, 2016)
Social media is the main platform of communication in our society today. Therefore the majority would have found out about the attacks on a social network. This universal image was a way of Jean Jullien visually communicating with everyone and paying his respects to Paris. This shows the impact that an image on a social network can have. It united the everyone and by sharing it around the world, people could show there support for Paris.
Alderson, R. (2015). Peace for Paris and the role of the imagemaker in times of tragedy | Creative Review. [online] Creativereview.co.uk. Available at: http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/november/peace-for-paris-and-the-role-of-the-imagemaker-in-times-of-tragedy/ [Accessed 16 Jan. 2016].
Fairs, M. (2015). Jean Jullien’s Peace for Paris illustration becomes symbol of unity. [online] Dezeen. Available at: http://www.dezeen.com/2015/11/14/jean-jullien-illustration-peace-for-paris-2015-attacks/ [Accessed 19 Jan. 2016].
Vincent, A. (2015). Jean Jullien: the artist mistaken for Banksy who created the Peace for Paris symbol of solidarity. [online] The Telegraph. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/art/what-to-see/jean-jullien-peace-for-paris-symbol/ [Accessed 19 Jan. 2016].
Addley, E. (2015). How Jean Jullien’s simple doodle spread around the world. [online] the Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/16/how-jean-julliens-simple-doodle-spread-around-the-world [Accessed 19 Jan. 2016].
Gonzalez, R. (2016). Meet Jean Jullien, the artist behind the “Peace for Paris” symbol. [online] WIRED. Available at: http://www.wired.com/2015/11/jean-jullien-peace-for-paris/ [Accessed 19 Jan. 2016].