The reported number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines has reached 20,620 as of June 5, according to the Department of Health. The Philippine government announced that mass testing would be conducted on April 14, and yet none such action has been taken since their announcement. What’s worse — with no clear guidelines and with sources of COVID-19 information primarily posted online, many Filipinos are left to navigate through the threat of the global pandemic on their own.
Many of us in the past months have had to battle misinformation from different sources — Viber groups, Facebook posts, and even risky statements from the DOH. In a time when fake news and miscommunication through media is rife in the mainstream, well-researched communication and well executed design can be some of the biggest combatants against the pandemic. So what can we do about it?
Last April, the United Nations called on creatives to battle the pandemic using a language understood by many — the language of art.
Following this call to action to translate critical messages and health guidelines surrounding COVID-19 policies, branding and design studio And a Half created a design led campaign called KONTRA COVID.
Interested artists and creatives can use And a Half’s KONTRA COVID toolkit to create visual cues easily recognized by the Filpino public. The toolkit contains guidelines for choosing an overarching topic to be tackled, for characters, tone, and primary colors that keep the submitted works cohesive, as diverse as they are in medium and style. Artists are encouraged to choose a main point to translate visually, and to back their artistic claims through research on hygiene, physical distancing, symptom recognition, kindness, and myth busting. Using the tone of Pinoy action movies, the visual stories are meant to portray protagonists as the common Filipino citizen, and the COVID-19 virus as the enemy.
Submissions aren’t confined to posters as And a Half encourages the use of different mediums. Creatives can use video (TikTok!), memes, comics, jingles and anything within the creative visual spectrum to get the message across as effectively as possible. So far, among the local artists and collectives who’ve participated are Hulyen, TeamManila, Serious Studio and Leeroy New.
Participation in the KONTRA COVID campaign gives us the chance to combat viral misinformation with easily shareable, easily understood information.
Are you a creative or an artist interested in creating materials rid of the garble and confusion of presscons? Join the KONTRA COVID campaign today and download the primer here.
Header image by Team Manila for KONTRA COVID
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