Perhaps the most striking images in Oliver Munday’s new monograph, Don’t Sleep, appear just before the title page. On the left-facing page is a nineteenth-century map of the Senate floor. On the page opposite is an illustrated cross section of the hull of a slave ship, scaled to the same size as the Senate and in the exact same semicircle shape. This encapsulates Munday’s design work: arresting juxtapositions, an engagement with the political, and above all, a deliberate, understated presence. As heavy as the visuals are, Munday’s hand is light. The images speak for themselves.
Don’t Sleep is a powerful survey of thirty-three-year-old Munday’s career thus far. The title, which asks readers to stay alert to the implicit and explicit messages of an image-saturated culture, also calls to mind “wokeness.” Though Munday is hesitant to call himself an activist, he readily acknowledges the role of design in various social movements, from May 1968 to Cold War Cuba. Munday’s editorial illustrations, posters, and book jackets draw attention to social-justice issues—and awareness is the first step in making change. He is after, as he says, “the thing that makes you stop and think for just one extra moment.” Read More