Julie Lasky | Projects

Ripped from the Headlines

Johnny Selman's 99th poster, "Social Discontent Rising in China, Says Report," December 15, 2010

Every morning for the past 100 days, Johnny Selman, a Bay Area graphic designer, has woken at six to skim BBC headlines on his computer. As the world passes before his eyes, his fingers begin to get itchy. He thinks about a nasty skirmish between North and South Korea, or shark attacks in the Red Sea off Egypt. One day it might be rhino poaching in the Ivory Coast. Another day, papal reversals on condom use. By 8 a.m., Selman has created a poster dramatizing events like these for his website.

He’ll be doing it for another 265 days.

A tall screen printer from Virginia, who turned to design mainly to avoid crouching (the apparel shop in Charlottesville that employed him used presses that were uncomfortably low to the ground), Selman moved to San Francisco with a friend from his rock band and settled into an MFA program at Academy of Art University.

Last September 8, his 30th birthday, he embarked on a thesis project to make global current events more arresting. Noting that 1) Americans, particularly young ones, get their news online in growing droves, and 2) a scary percentage remain clueless about matters more serious than Kim Kardashian’s lip gloss shade, he vowed to execute one poster every day for a year.

Today, Selman released his 100th poster, an illustration of a human rights challenge to Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws. To mark the occasion, he recruited volunteers in journalistic garb (safety vests, prominently displayed press cards) to hang all 100 posters chronologically in shop windows along a five-block stretch of Valencia Street, near his home in San Francisco’s Mission district. “I’m trying to spiderweb this thing from my own backyard,” Selman says, explaining that traffic to the site has hovered around a disappointing 500–1,000 visits a day. An occasional surge is provoked by media coverage in the UK, Australia and South Africa — everywhere, it seems, but the States, where his target audience lives.

Over the next three-month phase, Selman will invite other designers to submit headlines and posters to a part of his website called The Sunday Edition. As for the remainder of the project year: “It would be great if there were a movement to consider graphics in portraying news stories after this is done,” he says. “I think it would start with employing more graphic designers in news agencies that play a larger role in how media is presented. So much of it now is just stock photography.”

Posted in: Graphic Design, Media

Comments [17]

What a great idea--so glad to read about a project like this in time to follow the next two thirds! Bet the live display in the streets is going to be great.
Christopher Morlan

I had a chance to check out Johnny's project tonight and it really was terrific. This guy has a bright future ahead of him, and we'll certainly be seeing much more of his work in the days to come.
Christopher Schroeder

Well done. Some great visual solutions in there! Can't wait to see more.

Love the project, love the designs! Its a well needed and great concept. Can't wait to see what the next 265 days has to offer. Thanks for spreading the word!
Rachel Scandiffio

Wish I could have been at the 100 day celebration, i'm a big fan of your work. Keep us updated on the future of this project!

What a great way to bring the community together. I am looking forward following the rest of the project. Thanks for the inspiration.
daemian hawthorne

I checked out the BBCX365 site, and found the illustrations of the news creative and thought provoking. It truely provides an interesting way to look at current events. I hope it can manage to achieve its aim of increasing global awareness in the US, what an admirable goal!
Kate Fowler

Amazing everyday! I especially enjoy the recurring graphic themes that have developed over the course of the project. #99(Dec. 15) is brilliant.
Harper Bradshaw

Brilliant! I look forward to my "visual" news every day. Thanks, Johnny.

BBCX365 has such a magnetic pull in so many ways, but most importantly because it has opened my eyes to world news, and I keep coming back for more. Johnny's visuals are simple and strong, thought-provoking and thoughtful, inspired and insightful. As Chris said, Johnny certainly has a bright future ahead of him. Brilliant work.

I am constantly intrigued by the chosen article each day and how Johnny turns it into art. Keep up the great work.

Johnny is brilliant, truly talented.
Stacy Hite

I love Johnny's infinite brilliance. Keep up the wonderful work!!
samantha Yarbrough

Great work, nice concept, we loved it, and we decided to repot it in our little blog. If you would like to check it:

An everyday project like Johnny's takes a lot of energy. Others have addressed the newspaper in a similar manner:


I look forward to following his journey online and seeing how he interprets the news.
Tim Belonax

Wow! What a cool project and awesome way to integrate art and world news with the local community. I even enjoyed some window shopping as well. I love the art work and appreciate the creative interpretations. Thank you Johnny for opening my eyes and ears to world headlines with these provocative news casts!
Samantha Smith

I really enjoyed the show and find this a wonderful media to bring the news to a new audience. Looking forward to the upcoming posters.

Jobs | July 25