Petra Stefankova


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The power of social graphic design

Top social graphic designs like posters, books and other products outside the realm of print wed existing technology and artistic thinking. Yet social issues need clear, understandable and unique visual communication which combines creative typography with original illustrations. For this reason, advertising agencies invite authors whose distinctive styles differentiate and raise a selected theme’s profile.

The Bienále Forma at the Slovak Union of Visual Art’s Umelka Gallery in Bratislava showcases contemporary Slovakian applied art, presenting the best examples of this artistic discipline. There are also graphic designers among the product engineers, photographers, and fashion designers.


In 2021, I introduced The Three I’s – Illiteracy, Inequality, Intolerance, my social poster explaining these basic concepts to a wider audience. Another series of posters sought to motivate the public to become more attentive to the disabled, blind and deaf. The initiative behind this comes from my own personal experience of disability in my family when glaucoma, an eye disease, took my father’s sight away around twenty years ago. The art gallery lets these ideas resonate in a public space, at least for a moment or two, and accelerates social thinking about such disabilities.

Visual communication is a tool that effectively conveys complex ideas. Charitable foundations likewise provide enormous space for artists and designers to contribute individually and express their extensive imaginations. That is why social design is able to create the most innovatively creative solutions for communication campaigns.


In England, a charity project by Havas Lynx Parky Life, an advertising agency looking to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease, drew the attention of the Drum Rose Awards’ organiser. The agency had engaged well-known, successful illustrators to communicate a positive message on its website, as well as on posters and a series of cards. The campaign’s sophisticated use of cartoon images earned it the Best Illustration award.



Memories is a book produced by a creative team to support Maggie’s, a network of centres across England that care for people diagnosed with cancer. A total of 144 illustrators took part in drawing the pictures accompanying the stories the twelve authors wrote. The book also received a lot of publicity from Computer Arts, a digital art magazine well-known around the world.


Another example of the remarkable connection between illustrations and a committed topic is the anti-drug website produced by Rastamana, an organisation that offers legal advice and psychological counselling to addicts.

A major social design element is the communication of appropriately formulated information. Illustrations play an emphasising role here and they are the first thing a viewer or reader notices. The part a designer, artist or illustrator has in this context is therefore irreplaceable.

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Social illustrated design

I created several social illustrated designs for posters about illiteracy, inequality and intolerance as well as issues of the disabled. I would like to bring these topics to your attention using aesthetics, emotion and hierarchy of typographic and visual elements.

The initiative is based on personal experience with disability in my family. My father was blind for about 20 years because of glaucoma. Despite that, he was very accomplished at work. He felt ashamed of ending up sight-impaired, did not want people to notice his disability and he tried to hide this disadvantage. I had a strong emotional connection with him. He struggled through life a lot for his inability to see. He slowly developed other senses a bit stronger such as his hearing and touching.

This collection of posters represent important themes we should not be ignorant of.

Vytvorila som niekoľko sociálnych ilustrovaných dizajnov pre plagáty o negramotnosti, nerovnosti a netolerancii ako aj o problémoch zdravotne znevýhodnených ľudí. Chcem priniesť tieto témy do vašej pozornosti s použitím estetiky, emócií a hierarchie typografických a vizuálnych elementov.

Táto iniciatíva je založená na osobnej skúsenosti so zdravotným znevýhodnením v mojej rodine. Môj otec bol nevidiaci približne 20 rokov kvôli glaukomu. Napriek tomu, bol veľmi pracovne úspešný. Cítil sa zahanbený, že stratil zrak, nechcel, aby si to ľudia všimli a pokúšal sa svoje znevýhodnenie skrývať. Mala som s ním veľmi silné emocionálne spojenie. Počas života sa pre svoju neschopnosť vidieť veľmi trápil. Postupne si vyvinul silnejšie iné zmysly ako sluch a hmat.

Táto kolekcia plagátov reprezentuje dôležité témy, ktoré by sme nemali ignorovať.

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