Design to Share or to Teach: Social Action Posts


Jessica Jendres

Something doesn’t sit right with me when it comes to some social media posts that call users to action on social justice issues. Making a post look pretty so it can be shared more is a bit icky to me.

But as I say this, I understand that creating and sharing these pretty posts that talk about injustices can actually create more awareness of the topics at hand. It’s just that the type of people they attract are more times than not, using these posts to garner attraction to their pages. You can create a pretty pink graphic with gigantic shapes and gorgeous serif font talking about the injustices for women that will end up being shared across multiple platforms. Meanwhile a simple photo or one with plain text will be shared with half the amount of people.

It’s a gray area where while I enjoy seeing people talking about topics that need to be shared, in runs into the thought of hmm I know they’re sharing this post because it fits their page/personal aesthetic. This thinking is exactly why Black Out Tuesday from 2020 was so polarizing because on one hand, wow you’re speaking up for those with smaller voices. On the other, many people knew that once the day was up or a few months down the line, they would delete the black square because it doesn’t fit their page’s theme.

Canva’s rising popularity and ease of use might also be contributing to the vast amount of overly sweet justice posts. Never before could those with less design knowledge create images that can fit their theme and profile. This allows those that do care about keeping an image regardless of the topic, to create these vibrant, pop inducing posts that seem so out of place.

I land in the in-between category. I like the simple plain text posts as they usually share the most information and don’t seem like they were created with gaining traction in mind. But they are created in an aesthetic that is easily sharable.

My go-tos are:



Simple but highly effective social justice slideshows. Posts via soyouwanttotalkabout & wetheurban on Instagram.

At the end of the day, regardless of what colour or graphic is on the post, the message still stands. And the message still needs to be shared. To me it boils down to this standpoint: are you creating these graphics to teach people about topics or are you creating to gain followers and attention to your work, while also spreading awareness.

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