From Gilbert Baker to Monotype's NYC Pride typeface: Queer X Design documents 50 years of LGBTQ+ design
“Sometimes, a rebellion begins with a rebrand. In Queer X Design, the professor Andy Campbell weaves a telling visual tapestry of an emerging L.G.B.T.Q. language and identity” wrote The New York Times on the book that is literally a potent, inspiring, and colorful visual history of activism and pride.
Written by Los Angeles-based art historian Andrew Campbell, Queer x Design is a book that documents half a century of LGBTQI+ design and activism since the birth of the gay rights liberation movement in 1969.
Focusing on the signs, symbols, banners, posters, typography, and logos used by queer activist groups in the US, Campbell wrote the book after finding there was no literature specifically on the design of the LGBT+ movements in the US.
“Sure, there are plenty of books that reproduce photographs and ephemera found in archives, but nothing which considered this ephemera as design,” he told DEZEEN. “Usually, with canonical histories of design, there's a pretty strong allergy to connecting design with a politics of identity and with the subjectivity of the designer.”
His book is literally the first-ever illustrated history of the iconic designs, symbols, and graphic art representing more than 5 decades of LGBTQ pride and activism.
Beginning with pre-liberation and the years before the Stonewall uprising, spanning across the 1970s and 1980s and through to the new millennium, Queer X Design celebrates the inventive and subversive designs that have powered the resilient and ever-evolving LGBTQ movement.
The diversity and inclusivity presented in the book “is inspiring as it is important, both in terms of the objects represented as well as in the array of creators.”
From buttons worn to protest Anita Bryant, to the original The Future is Female; from the logos of Pleasure Chest and GLAAD, to the poster for Cheryl Dunye’s queer classic The Watermelon Woman; from Gilbert Baker’s iconic rainbow flag to the quite laments of the AIDS quilt and the impassioned rage conveyed in ACT-UP and Gran Fury ephemera or Keith Haring’s “Heritage of Pride” logo, QXD tells the story of queerness as “something intangible, uplifting, and indestructible.”
Organized by decade beginning with Pre-Liberation and then spanning the 1970s through the millennium, the book “aims to be an empowering, uplifting, and colorful celebration of the hundreds of graphics -from shapes and symbols to flags and iconic posters- that have stood for the powerful and ever-evolving LGBTQ movement over the last five-plus decades” notes Campbell.
With pages filled with sorrow, loss, and struggle -an affective selection that queer designers and artists harnessed to bring about political and societal change- alongside the joy, hope, love, and the enduring fight for free expression and representation of a community that fights for equality, Queer X Design is
Grab your own copy here.