AdBusters: Graphic Design for Social Change

Adbusters Media Foundation is a Canadian based alternative media group centred around a monthly magazine devoted to socio cultural change and awareness. It describes itself as a ‘CultureJammer’. It doesn’t feature advertisements and relies solely on sales.

 The magazine has a strong visual emphasis on design, photography and art. A large part of this visual content is devoted to culture jamming where an internal contradiction of contemporary culture is made visible for example by subvertising. It also features articles and short passages from writers both published and unpublished. Public submissions of art and text are welcomed.

The group has no definitive political stance but does feature recurring ideas and positions. Among these are an opposition to corporate power, consumer lifestyle, commercial saturation, digital saturation, environmental neglect and globalisation to name a few. Because of its ambiguous position which is decidedly left some have hypothesized that it is an anarchist publication. The non-adoption of a specific position gives it a broader audience where the public can pick and choose ideas with which they agree. Importantly the magazine is an alternative to corporate industrial media. Rather than being consumers the  readership become active participants in organised and underground methods of subversion.

Some of the Adbusters campaigns include ‘Buy Nothing Day’, ‘Blackspot’ an experiment in independent, ethical capitalism, ‘Kick it Over’ a guerrilla protest against economic rationalism, ‘Media Carta’ an organised retaliation against the corporatisation of the Huffington Post and ‘Digital Detox Week’.






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