Monday, June 1, 2009

Of burning children and inappropiate touching

I have to deal with some sensitive subject matter with my graphics from time to time and it can be a fine line between what is appropriate and what is over the line. I am currently working on a course dealing with child safety with an emphasis on fire safety and that has led to some graphical problem solving. How best to depict the real threat of the fire is smoke which can be very deadly? Should I actually show a child on fire?

One of the main reasons this course is being made is a little girl succumbed to smoke inhalation during a fire at a child care facility.

STOP. DROP. and ROLL! The audio for this section pretty much described a child on fire and I considered for a little while different ways of trying to actually depict said child on fire. In the end after talking with some colleges I really toned it down and made it graphical in nature rather then a literal depiction.

I have also had to address the abuse of children in the courses I create graphics for. This subject matter by far trumps anything dealing with fire or safety.

Physical abuse can be easier to depict...

...while sexual abuse needs to be handled more subtly.

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  1. The sexual abuse graphic has such a physical component (the arm and hand raised, as if to strike) that it conveys physical abuse more abuse of a sexual nature. And the figure of the child, huddled and in a prone position ... that always conveys a physical withdrawl. There's not much of a sexual component to the graphic. It's a difficult assignment, to be sure.

  2. You are right, not easy at all and from the get go I really had to keep the sexual imagery to a minimum - if not remove it all together. The client on one hand wanted GRAPHICS GRAPHICS GRAPHICS while at the same time tensed up about being to graphic in these sections.

    Since all of the graphics are accompanied with audio it did allow me to keep everything vague. Of course since physical violence is much more acceptable then issues of sexuality - especially anything aberrant - in our culture I stuck with images that leaned toward a physical threat. I stuck with trying to convey themes of predator and victim rather then any specific action.

    The first course for this client that I was lead artist on was a child abuse and neglect course. Because of the visual hurdles this brought about it led to me using the silhouettes as a graphical theme for the rest for the courses. I went back and forth with the client with many graphical variations before they agreed on the silhouettes.