This is a Master Thesis called “Fear, Crisis, Design” and it is focusing on the visual communication and international standards in communicating during a critical situation. This project is based on a visual collection of print products published from 2007 till 2012.

All the examples were tagged with different parameters, focusing on language, colors, stylistic devices and fonts. A general map of all tags sorted by its visual parameters and frequency is listed here.

The articles are shown in a chronological order, from oldest (first) to newest (last). Each example can be rated by its visual effects on emotions.

Clicking the images will lead to the original source of the example.

This project deals with the following crises:

A | Fukushima,

A | Fukushima

March 11, 2011: a 9.0 magnitude earthquake occurred in the ocean 43 miles (70 kilometers) east of Sendai, Honshu, Japan, at a depth of 20 miles (32 kilometers) below the seabed. The earthquake was immediately followed by a tsunami 133 feet (40.5 meters) high that destroyed everything in its path for a distance of as much as 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the shoreline. Initial recovery efforts focused on locating and rescuing survivors of this disaster, an effort that was complicated by the damage to several nuclear reactors located in the region.

What follows is FM Global’s response to the earthquake and tsunami; how, in the face of an unprecedented catastrophe and vast uncertainty, the company managed to keep track of its own people and provide quality service to its imperiled clients. Assembled from the catastrophe response reports and accounts of the staffers with firsthand experience of the event, both on the ground and at various offices around the world, this story highlights the importance of global teamwork, corporate synergy and the immense value of FM Global’s emphasis on being prepared for virtually anything

( source: http://www.fmglobalreason.com/article/aftershocked, 18.09.2012, 10:08)

B | Economy,

B | Economy

After 9/11 not only the fear of terroristic strikes was increasing dramatically but also the fear of an overall depression including all financial markets. To counter this fiasco a huge amount of funds have been provided and were given into the international financial system. New distribution systems should minimize potential risks and stabilize the financial system in case of a breakdown. A big amount of money was invested in real estate what caused a huge bubble on the real-estate-market of the U.S.A.. The burst of this bubble in 2008 questioned the longtime successful financial system of the Western civilization.

This property and economic crisis 2008 was only a precursor for the following financial crisis, that itself involved dramatic economic and financial aftermath all over the world. Many different predictions and scenarios followed and caused an increasing insecurity in addition. Till today the politicians all over the world are dealing with finding a resolution to this crisis and establish some kind of balance on the markets.

Crises always were social phenomena and part of the social history. Their development also strongly depends on corporat expectations, activity and media coverage.

(source: Otte, Max: Die Finanzkrise und das Versagen der modernen Ökonomie, 11.12.2009,  22.10.2012, 12:42)

and C | EuroCrash.

C | EuroCrash

Like the financial crisis, the european crisis is a systematic crisis. It is caused by a historical input of permanent increase of speed in daily life. An “acting in real-time” is almost impossible on the financial markets of today. Reacting faster than others is the only guarantee for survival. This so called “Flash Trading” is the main cause of the current financial crash in Europe: the rate of trading information and transacting business is determined by the speed of modern information media. The people behind try to keep up with this race and try to assure themselves with “future speculations of the moment”, to get themselves some kind of advance. In the end, the financial market was steamrolled by its own increase.

What began at the marginal area of Eurozone is getting closer to the center. One of the crucial factors was the downgrading of Greece in 2009 by different rating agencies. Euro Rescue Fund and Eurobonds are in permanent discussion. Some more countries like Ireland, Portugal and Italy had to follow Greece in debt entanglement. Austerity plans were made up to save the European Union from a total breakdown. This plans caused a lot of riots and on May, 5th in 2010 three people were killed on the streets of Athen.The fate of Europe has not been decided yet. But the Euro is keeping up.

(Stationen einer Krise (2009-2011). Finanzkrise in Europa, 22.10.2012, 14:05)


The goal of this project is to visualize emotional effects of the usage of stereotypical visual elements to the audience and society. Every designer should be aware of the hidden meanings of crisis visiotypes and how they maybe affect the process of a critical situation.

The reaction of the audience must show how different visual elements work. It is always the designer who is in charge which elements to chose for representing an information.

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