Remembering 9/11: Then and Now
Remembering 9/11: Then and Now
Remembering 9/11: Then and Now
By Steven Heller September 9, 2011

Tragedy and imagery go hand-in-hand. First there is the real image of the event captured on video and photographs. Then, even before the dust settles, artists and designers are often among the first responders. Creating signs, symbols, icons and expressive interpretations are among the mnemonic building blocks of remembrance. September 11, 2001—or 9/11, as its been branded in our consciousness—triggered countless post-tragedy images. Some in solidarity with the victims, others protesting the perpetrators, and still more commemorating the historical moment. Indeed many were all of these.

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Abby Bennett, 2001.

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Brian Niemann, 9/11 Memorial Poster, 2001.

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Chris Calori, Remember 9/11, 2001. (Added to this collection in 2011.)

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Dmitri Siegel, 9/11, 2001.

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Felix Sockwell, 2001.

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Haas Design, poster created for the 10th anniversary, 2011.

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Hector Casanova, WTC Peace Sign, 2001.

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Ingo Fast, Unity, 2001.

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Michael Leland, 2001.

In the days, weeks and months following the devastation from the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, AIGA became a repository, clearing house and archive for impromptu and commissioned imagery.

David Womack, who was AIGA’s director of new media at the time, recalls:

We decided to create a gallery to let members post their own. My main memory was that the day after we launched the gallery, NPR ran a story about it and the server crashed, and then kept crashing because of all the traffic. [We] had to add five servers in order to keep up with the demand. 

The outpouring of emotion could not but result in work that quickly evolved into a universal language combining grief and heroism through symbols both universal and exclusive. Each image, regardless of style or concept, is an historical document. As visual history, they are resonant signposts too. 

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Milton Glaser, I Love NY More Than Ever, 2001.

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Art Is... poster for the School of Visual Arts, 2001. Design,Concept, and 3D Illustration: Kevin O'Callaghan. Graphics: Mike Joyce. Photography: Hugh Kretschmer. (Added to this collection in 2011.)

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Open, cover for The Nation, October 1, 2001. (Added to this collection in 2011.)

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R. O. Blechman for the The New York Times, 2001.

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Scott Lewis, FDNY logo, 2001 (available in vector format at iconify.it). (Added to this collection in 2011.)

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Steff Geissbuhler, newspaper illustration, 2001.

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Steven Brower, cover of Print Magazine's Regional Design Annual 2001.

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Tad Toulis, 2001.

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Wallace Church, United We Stand logo, 2001.

Ric Grefé, AIGA executive director, notes that, in addition to collecting these images, AIGA joined with other organizations in New York to develop recommendations for infrastructure, planning and design to help rebuild lower Manhattan:

The most important contribution we made right after 9/11 was the role we played in the formation of ‘New York New Visions’ and the creation of the report and its findings for use in advocating design guidelines for the rebuilding of downtown New York. This group met here weekly for months and we were instrumental in the governance and managing the process leading to its advocacy role. (We arranged for the design and printing of the book and paid the expenses.)

To commemorate this anniversary we present a selection of the images collected a decade ago. If you have a remembrance you wish to share, please add it to the comments.

Tags history Article Voice graphic design