Movement & Connections

In 2016, I was lucky enough to participate in Movement & Connections, an art exhibition displayed at the UN Headquarters, featuring artists who also happen to staff various UN agencies and initiatives.

Interview by Doyeun Kim

JEDD FLANSCHA is a graphic designer from the United States who is passionate about “bringing progressive ideas to life” through design. His graphic design studio, Yield Media, began as an idea for a magazine showcasing op-art around progressive themes, and it has become a platform for communicating respect, joy, and love.

For “Movement & Connections”, he explores the idea of respect in our connections to one another and our connection to our shared home, Earth. 

Jedd is a creative lead in digital strategy at UNICEF, in charge of design and user experience on 

Interview by DK, condensed and edited for clarity. This interview was originally published in 2016 alongside promotional materials for the exhibition. Republished here with permission.

DK: Did you do creative work before you went to art school?

JF: Yeah, [when I was in high school,] it was the early days of the internet, and I did websites for the school newspaper, the ecology club, etc. … in the world of Netscape navigator in the mid ‘90s. There was only a handful of us then, so I was doing a lot of web design work before college.

DK: Outside of the UN, who are you?

JF: Laughs – [Before the UN], I ran my own studio for about seven or eight years, focused on helping nonprofits bring progressive ideas to life with graphic design. I helped new organizations develop their logos and branding systems – their visual identities.

Also [as an art major], I’ve done a lot of op-art, poster campaigns, and websites… 

  • Mine

    Detail, MINE, illustration and typography by Jedd

  • Ours

    Detail, OURS, illustration and typography by Jedd

DY: What are some of the themes you work with?

JF: “Respect” is something that comes up a lot, and “love.”

I’ve done some things that are political … But also [I do things around] joyfulness, along with respect and love. I think those are the main themes, even though they take very different forms.

One campaign I did was called “Corporations Can’t”, for which I did a bunch of posters calling out the absurdity of corporate personhood. And that, to me, is about respect, because a corporation isn’t a person, and [considering them as such] is not respectful to people.

[Each one is a] very different type of campaign – each one looks different – but to me they all go back to that concept of respect and love.

DK: Would you be able to describe a moment when something moved you to work on a campaign? How did you get started on the Corporate Personhood theme, for example?

JF: I don’t remember exactly how that got started… In college, I took a political science class, and then I studied in London for a year. And it was right around the time “No Logo” came out, so I was reading a lot about how the corporate world works. I was also getting to the more advanced years in art school, so I was able to do more print-making and stuff that was more directed on my own. 

So I think that is both my knowledge of that world and my ability to create something around it [that] came around the last two years of college. My thesis in college was a little magazine that never really got produced then, but it [eventually turned into my firm], “Yield Media”. 

DK: Your company came out of your senior thesis?

JF: That was where the name [Yield Media] came from, yeah. I wasn’t quite as articulate [as I am now, with the tagline] “bringing progressive ideas to life”. But that was always the idea. It started [with the idea that] the mainstream media isn’t always covering ideas from [certain perspectives], and it was a way to communicate some of those ideas. Through design. 

DK: Do you feel that your work has changed over time, since you started doing Yield Media?

JF: For sure. I think the stuff there was much more – not necessarily political, but it was much more reactionary to policy and politics. And now it’s much more focused on the values of respect and the values of love.

I think a lot of my work was about highlighting unfairness and highlighting disrespect. And now it’s more about highlighting respect and highlighting love. So it’s more focused on the positive side. I definitely think there’s more joy in it than before. 

Above: Images from the Movement & Connections show at the United Nations Headquarters in 2016

DK: I think your key words are Respect, Joy, and Love.

JF: I think so, and it sounds so cheesy – laughs.

DK: That’s what the world needs, right? That’s what everything boils down to.

JF: But I think I want to leave room for some of the more political stuff. I think, for this show, the ideas I’m going to have are probably a bit more focused on a concept around equity. 

To me, the “movement and connections” theme – especially around refugees – is really an issue about respect. 

That idea of – what do we call home? And who is allowed at your home? Is it an ownership over space? To me, that boils down to “respect” … [I think] what I’m going to do here is call out the idea that there’s this planet, and it’s a shared home. It’s all ours. 

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