Underline Studio Commemorates El Salvador's Civil War

July 14, 2017



Toronto’s Underline Studio is following up its award-winning “Martyrs–El Salvador Newspaper” project that commemorated those martyred during El Salvador’s Civil War (1979-1992) with a second edition called “Everyone, El Salvador,” and they need the design community’s help to finish it.


The new newspaper chronicles the country’s worst civil-war massacres and has already been designed. Underline is funding the printing of the project through Kickstarter until August 9. After printing costs are subtracted, around one-third of the proceeds from the campaign goal, as well as anything over and above, will benefit Pro-Búsqueda, a Salvadoran human rights association committed to searching for disappeared children from the war and, when possible, reuniting them with their families.


Underline Studio worked directly with Pro-Búsqueda on the newspaper project to collect information and stories. Like the “Martyrs” paper before it, “Everyone, El Salvador” will feature four double-sided posters in addition to covers and introduction.


“We realized we didn’t do enough with [Martyrs],” Peña says. “That first one felt a little self-indulgent up to a point, and we realized this project needed to raise awareness and support an organization doing good work. There is so much to talk about.”



The cause is close to Peña’s heart, since he grew up in El Salvador during the Civil War and witnessed many family friends lose their loved ones during that time. The United Nations estimates that more than 75,000 people were murdered during the 13 years of the war, with an additional 10,000—many of them children—that were “disappeared” by being kidnapped and either murdered or adopted to families outside the country.


“Everyone, El Salvador” commemorates three massacres in particular: La Matanza, El Sumpul and El Mozote, across three pull-out posters featuring photography supplied by Toronto’s Paul Weeks. On the reverse side of each poster are poems and drawings by contributors such as the late Salvadoran poet Roque Dalton and Salvadoran artist Augusto Crespín. A fourth poster commemorates the 10,000 disappeared.





“We wanted the typography to have no personality, to be quiet and simple, and to tell the story with the images instead,” Peña says. “We wanted to have the images represent, in the most beautiful way we could imagine, something very tragic. Creating something beautiful was a way to attract attention to these issues.”


As of writing, the project has reached 30 per cent of its $15,000 goal. Available rewards for backers include copies of “Everyone, El Salvador” and “Martyrs,” as well as limited-edition posters and, for one small company, the opportunity to have their logo designed by Underline. Click here to help.



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