Designing a Dictatorship


After reading the book Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea by American journalist Barbara Demick (2014), a series of stories which were told to her by North Koreans who had defected, I felt ashamed about how little I knew about it. After some research, I could not stop thinking about a tangible parallelism between North Korean and other regimes. In fact, if there is something totalitarian states have in common, is the way they ‘brand’ their dictatorships. Graphic design always played a crucial role in this process: in fact, posters, postcards and other relevant distribution methods have always been in the centre of political propaganda. But while many dictatorships happened and ended almost a century ago and they have been studied and analysed by many, North Korea is mostly a mystery. The lack of information about its dictatorship is notable, and it is often not possible to receive non-filtered news from the country.
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