For the Good of All

Will Novosedlik on Derwyn Goodall and Doing the Right Thing

July 21, 2020

For the Good of All

The Coronavirus has certainly knocked industry off its feet.

Once fluid revenue streams have slowed to a trickle. Businesses struggle with how to reopen. And wherever they have, we’re seeing a vigorous resurgence of cases. This is going to be a very long game.

Advertisers and their agencies have responded. The quality of that response varies, from blatant COVID- washing to genuinely helpful action. If I see another TV spot reassuring me that we’re all in this together just before reminding me that if I buy now I’ll get a 10% discount on my next purchase, I think I’ll scream. 

Yes, I still watch cable TV from time to time, more than usual due to the complete lack of more social forms of entertainment. But necessity dictates that I spend a lot more time on Linkedin these days, scouring the feeds for anything that might rehydrate my own revenue stream.

It was there that I began to see this wonderful poster series by designer Derwyn Goodall. One of these appeared in my April column, along with work from other designers and agencies. But Goodall kept going, adding a new image every couple weeks or so, until he had created the series you see here. 

Instead of me talking about these, I have decided to depart from my usual and let the designer speak for himself. Here is how our conversation unfolded:

Why did you start the COVID series? What were your objectives?

“When COVID hit, the United Nations initiated a Global Call for Creatives. This was more than a design awards show opportunity, it was a forum for designers to create messages that could help people by potentially making their situations better.” 

“This really resonated with me. In the midst of all this misery and anxiety, I wanted to create a series of dynamic poster expressions that made a difference; whether it was a gentle reminder, a sense of caution or simply trying to encourage people to stay optimistic in the midst of the global pandemic. Other, similar creative calls popped up. The Official Graphic Designers’ Association of Catalonia invited me to participate in the project “From the trenches. One day less, one more design”. Happily, five of my COVID posters were chosen and featured on their website.”

Can you talk about the Graphis awards and how they influenced your decision to do a COVID-based series?

“As a business owner, I began to take self-promotion seriously three years ago. Designing for yourself can be challenging but also very rewarding. You are either the perfect client or not, depending on your approach. The purpose of my self-promotion effort was this — to establish myself as a ‘creative designer’, one who integrates an interesting message with compelling graphic execution.” 

“Early client appreciation and award show success followed. For two years now, I have designed a series of posters to celebrate the holidays. My clients love these. More recognition from Communication Arts and Graphis. And then the COVID series began. In the course of three years, I have won 11 Graphis Silvers and 1 Graphis Honorable Mention.”

Has this series gotten any attention or traction with followers, clients or potential clients?

“Some people may think posters are “old school” and perhaps they are. I have printed a number of my designs for clients and they love them. I have also shared them on Instagram, to my LinkedIn groups and also on Facebook.” 

“The internet is a wonderful connectivity apparatus. People from all walks of life and from many countries of the world have noticed the work and commented favourably. There is something very satisfying about connecting and being part of a global community.” 

“I approached a number of businesses and charities approximately two months into the pandemic. At that point, I felt most COVID messaging was generic and undistinguished. I saw this as a potential opportunity to talk about the power of design and how it can elevate any organization’s message. My approach so far has been successful, resulting in two new client engagements.”

The line between self-promotion and altruism can be blurry, but I think Goodall has managed to achieve a nice balance. Unlike the truck spots, in which the COVID messaging is simply voiced over some generic stock footage of smiling people in a pick-up truck screaming across a dramatic landscape, these posters use the power of the imagery to amplify the meaning of the message.  wn