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We Cannot Not Change

We Cannot Not Change is my personal submission to the exhibition Tone of Voice, a group show held in Melbourne as part of the Festival of Change, showcasing the work and expertise of the Melbourne Lettering Club members.


The inspiration for this piece comes from two events that happened during my attendance to ATypI 2014 in Barcelona.

During the second day of the conference, Raquel Pelta gave a fantastic talk called Graphic design and typography for social change. I admire Raquel very much and her talk was very inspiring for me.

The second event was Erik Spiekermann’s action when he sent a mailing tub to ATypI containing a poster with the message You cannot not communicate. Spiekermann’s poster names one of the five basic axioms supported by Paul Watzlawick:

One cannot not communicate: Every behaviour is a form of communication. Because behaviour does not have a counterpart (there is no anti-behaviour), it is impossible not to communicate. Even if communication is being avoided (such as the unconscious use of non-verbals or symptom strategy), that is a form of communication. “Symptom strategy” is ascribing our silence to something beyond our control and makes no communication impossible. Examples of symptom strategy are sleepiness, headaches, and drunkenness. Even facial expressions, digital communication, and being silent can be analysed as communication by a receiver.

You can read more about Paul Watzlawick and the five basic axioms it here.

Design Rationale

Combining both ideas Graphic design and typography for social change and One cannot not communicate gave me the inspiration to create a piece based on the idea of change, the theme of the group exhibition.

The first idea behind my artwork We Cannot Not Change. Graphic designers and typographers for social change that in our physical human nature (illustrated in the background) change is inevitable.

The second idea is that change is an imperative to improve social conditions, create a sustainable living, respect nature as our own family, and take responsibility of our actions.


I will use a fragment of Raquel’s talk to close my idea:

[…] experts say that we are in the middle of four huge scale crises (financial, energetic, food and democratic) and citizens are demanding substantial changes, the question arises, what is the role of graphic design and typography on these changes? Could they become agents of social change?

Vector lettering in progress

Pencil drawing

Original pencil drawing at 27 x 35 cm

Section of the artwork in grayscale

Close-up of the artwork in full colour

Final artwork

Limited edition print available on my online store