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Double Take! WikiLeaks LA Billboard vs. Barbara Kruger

In our double take blog series, we explore brands that either accidentally or intentionally are incredibly similar in concept or execution. This post is a little less direct than previous examples, but the inspiration from one to the other has to be noted. The new WikiLeaks billboards in Los Angeles have a direct visual reference to conceptual artist Barbara Kruger’s work, or at least an evolution of the visual brand that Kruger has been developing for almost 30 years. Her work consists typically of a juxtaposition between a stylized photograph and bold text in her signature red and black color blocks to evoke a shocking or ironic message. This distinct visual approach has been interpreted in contemporary graphic design since, and it’s easy to see why a variation of this look was a fit for this controversial campaign for WikiLeaks.

After a little investigation, it turns out this campaign was the work of EpicStep.com, a social fundraising site, that was done through crowd sourcing. “Nick J.,” the person behind the project, explained to Huffington Post:

“At some point governments and corporations must have accountability for their actions, just like individuals. If there is no one monitoring their actions, how can we assume that they will act in the our best interests? I feel our government has been less than honest with its people.” He also added, “It’s not just L.A. that needs to see this message. I would love nothing better than to see this billboard in major cities throughout the nation. Chicago is next.”