How the Pandemic Graphic Archive is preserving our new actuality

Aside from face masks and hand sanitizing stations, one of the most visible elements of the “new normal” is the abundance of Covid-related signage we see every day today.

Signage and wayfinding has taken on a new meaning in our buildings and public spaces as businesses of all kinds have had to create new warnings and social distancing guidelines.

The Pandemic Graphic Archive is one of the various online archives and initiatives that have sprung up in response to our new reality, just as large cultural institutions have tried to include Covid-related items in their collections.

The ongoing project is an brainchild of the youngest graphic design graduate Charlotte Walker, who, given the prospect of an unstable job market, started the archive after graduating from Liverpool John Moores University last summer.

Walker's self-initiated project, which included personal photography of Covid-19 ground signs, began during the UK's initial lockdown and quickly grew into a full-fledged archive after opening it to submissions from the general public earlier this year.

"Given the current travel restrictions, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to reach a global audience and create an online visual documentation of the new normal around the world," she says. "The website acts as an accessible and collaborative archive that is both an investigation and a social testimony to the times we live in."

The online archive has a simple layout that shows the best of the graphic ephemera collected around the world. The website is still referred to as "WIP" and is designed to evolve in parallel with the appearance of Covid graphics around the world.

Walker hopes the archive will continue to evolve as the pandemic affects our everyday world and we become part and parcel of our daily lives like things like wearing masks and social distancing.

“The sheer creativity of companies who want to keep trading and protecting customers is a fantastic example of everyone being a graphic designer,” says Walker.

"Coronavirus signs are often dismissed and perceived as enforcement. They have become part of our everyday visual language worldwide and a way of communicating the new normal."

Discover the Pandemic Graphic Archive at