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Professor Josh Piersanti Wins Prestigious Design Award

Published Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

A WSC art professor's work has been honored and included in the Graphis Social & Political Posters Collection.

Indian Ocean Tsunami 2004Josh Piersanti, graphic design professor at Wayne State College, received the Graphis Gold Award for his work on the poster “Indian Ocean Tsunami 2004.”

The work is included in the Graphis Social & Political Posters Collection, which features the most visually compelling posters selected from international entries.

“I'm honored to receive the Graphis Gold Award and to see Wayne State College named next to other recipients, who include the world's top graphic design agencies, such as Milton Glaser and Pentagram,” said Piersanti.

The poster, which can be seen at http://www.graphis.com/entry/ec2c7cc6-4b2e-11e2-a2c9-f23c91dffdec/ emphasizes three concepts: first, tsunamis have been a threat throughout history but are perhaps an even bigger threat today; second, the overpowering suddenness of the tsunami; and third, a focus on the individuals who lost their lives.

To create a connection to historical times, the poster uses a mosaic tile pattern, similar to that found in ancient southern Asia and elsewhere. To help communicate the overwhelming power and swiftness of the disaster, the depicted tsunami has characteristics suggestive of a sea monster. The single human hand raised above the water focuses attention on the individual lives lost.

The poster convincingly communicates the sudden and devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 and the historical nature of tsunamis. Most importantly, the poster is a reminder of the more than 230,000 individuals who lost their lives that day.

Graphis, the International Journal of Visual Communication in New York City, has recognized the best work in graphic design, advertising and photography since 1944.