Signs for Peace

Signs for Peace: An Impossible Visual Encyclopedia, asks us the question, ‘Can one visualise peace?’

Signs for Peace cover
Signs for Peace cover

The book, which has been edited by the institute for design research Design2context, has a good stab at quite a lofty question.

It has been written and complied by Vera Baur Kockot, a sociologist and culture and iconography theorist, and Reudi Baur, a graphic designer who runs the Intégral Ruedi Baur et Associés studio in Paris.

Signs of protest
Signs of protest

For this study they’ve looked to answer the question, ‘Are there signs, symbols, and images that present a positive image of peace as opposed to receiving their meanings in opposition to war?’

Kissing composition with VJ Day solider kissing nurse photo...
Kissing composition with VJ Day solider kissing nurse photo…

In order to ensure a broad blend of historical, cultural and political perspectives, research workshops were set up in different international regions, allowing the editors to understand a local interpretation of peace.

Spoofing the VJ Day scene, Banksy's policemen, and other kisses
Spoofing the VJ Day scene, Banksy’s policemen, and other kisses

As well as giving an overview of the iconography of peace, the book  boldly looks to help ‘assist in gaining an understanding of the subject’ according to the publisher.

The dove as a symbol of peace
The dove as a symbol of peace

The power of the kiss is symbolised in one composition with the VJ Day soldier-kissing-nurse photo, and several spoofs.

CND symbols
CND symbols

Elsewhere the candle vigil is analysed, and in another section the book explores internationally recognised symbols, like the dove and the CND symbol, and asks if they lose their pertinence when applied to a particular cause.

Candle shrines and vigils
Candle shrines and vigils

Signs for Peace: An Impossible Visual Encyclopedia is published by Lars Müller Publishers GmbH, and edited by Design2Context with Ruedi Baur, and Vera Baur Kockot, and designed by Megan Hall, priced £35

Latest articles