Signs of the Times

Has your life changed as a result of the 2016 election? If so, can you share the first thing that comes to mind?

This was the question I asked via text message to peers in my network on November 7, 2018—the day of the midterm election, precisely two years after Donald Trump became president. 

I wanted to share the responses I received in a way that would resonate with a broad audience. Inspired by the direct and common vernacular of strip malls in Miami, I designed and printed the responses on lawn signs, using the automated design tools of Each sign borrowed the aesthetics of landscaping services, election campaigns, and real estate brokers to share deeply personal messages. Like signs we see in the street, I included a phone number for viewers to call. The voicemail repeats the question: “how has your life changed as a result of the 2016 election?” Providing context to the sign and inviting the caller to participate. 

Using commonplace vernacular allows us to communicate intimate human emotions sincerely and unexpectedly. To date, one message has been received by an anonymous caller. Their voicemail said: “I live in fear that my rights as a member of the LBGTQ community will be taken away.” 

Elaine Lopez