Weapons of Reason: Power

Our in-house publishing project, Weapons of Reason (WoR), was born out of a desire to understand the world around us, and to use the power of design and creativity to change that world for the better. Issue four dives into a topic as old as humanity itself: power.

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"Weapons of Reason uses the power of data, images and words to reveal the rich insights that are required ingredients for addressing our most important global issues."

Tim Brown, CEO
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The Challenge

  • Weapon of Reason’s fundamental purpose is to unpack and explore the biggest issues facing the world today, and to open up discussions around these issues to as many people as possible.
  • Halfway through its eight-issue journey, WoR has already tackled the Arctic, ageing and megacities. Issue four saw us tackle a truly cardinal concept: Power.
  • We wanted to interrogate what “power” means and where it really lies in the modern world, charting the political, social, economic and ideological factors that shape our current landscape.

The Solution

  • To ensure we weren’t just scratching the surface of power — and in order to stay on course — we devised a supporting framework to help navigate its complex terrain.
  • By dividing the issue up into “Past” “Present” and “Future” we could move through the subject logically, hitting key touchpoints such as empire, territory, capital and technology in order to build a comprehensive, interconnected picture.
  • We commissioned a multiplicity of voices — from eminent scholars and data scientists to intrepid journalists and photographers — to explore the contours of power.
  • The issue featured 16 articles with writers and illustrators holding court on crony capitalism, gentrification, social media, identity politics, the rise of right-wing populism and more.
  • Each article featured bold illustrations or meticulously designed infographics, maps and charts which helped to bring the stories to life.
  • “Power” was governed by a core creative principle: everything for a reason. We strove to keep the issue lean yet informative, simple yet striking, beautiful on the surface and just as rich within.
  • Power was conceived with the hope of inspiring action; the issue spotlights resources and organisations that can help the reader to take tangible next-steps.

The Results

  • We launched the issue at London’s KK outlet, where we met some of our readers, discussed “power”, and celebrated reaching the halfway mark in the WoR journey.
  • To accompany the launch we devised an extensive “Power Map” with Univers Labs that illustrated the nexus between political and corporate power.
  • The magazine and map featured on It’s Nice That, YCN, How Design and Digital Arts.
  • Power was the first WoR issue to join Stack — the subscription service which sends its users an independently published magazine every month.
  • Aided by Antenne Books, WoR has achieved a global readership; from Singapore to the States, from London to Lisbon, our audience now numbers over 16,000 people.
  • The Power issue won the ‘Best use of illustration’ category at the Stack Awards 2017, and was featured by the Association of Illustrators.
  • Follow Weapons of Reason on Instagram, Twitter and read the issue on Medium.

Weapons of Reason: The Power issue by Human After All design agency

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