AIGA Awards 2015 Medal to former Black Panther Party Art Director (and Revolutionary Artist) Emory Douglas

AIGA Awards 2015 Medal to former Black Panther Party Art Director (and Revolutionary Artist) Emory Douglas [This article and interview was originally published on the SPD site in 2009 to coincide with the Emory Douglas exhibit at the New Museum in NYC.]

The fiercest and baddest art director of all time is Emory Douglas, who as Minister of Culture and Revolutionary Artist for the Black Panther Party designed and illustrated the Black Panther newspaper from 1967-1980. His bold, provocative graphics and illustrations were a signature for the era, and with his designs for the party's posters, buttons, banners, and publications he created one of the most memorable and lasting visual brands of all time. The AIGA has announced that it will award a 2015 Medal to Douglas to acknowledge his brilliant inspiring work and his graphic influence. The award will be presented at the AIGA Gala on April 14, 2015 in New York City.

Be sure to check out the book Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas , which features many of the works on that were exhibited at the Douglas show at the New Museum in 2009, as well as lengthy interviews and background information.



BP Year of the Panther.jpg

The Black Panther Party newspaper covers were bold and graphic, using just black and one color, and either illustrated by Douglas himself or with high-contrast photographs. Emory Douglas talked recently with SPD about his publication design work.

Emory Douglas: "Our whole idea was to take design elements, and transform them into a social and political statement, and to try to do it in a language that was simple and that people would understand."


Panther papers1.jpg

The covers were simple and direct, often without headlines. And although Douglas is better-known for his provocative illustrations and posters, his newspaper covers were groundbreaking in their raw and graphic approach.

Emory Douglas: "We had such limited resources at the Black Panther paper; we had to deal with the materials that were available and at hand at the time. I always looked at how I could do things in the simplest way. I would look at something in another publication and then try to reproduce it in our paper with a more basic approach."


Panther papers2.jpg


Douglas started at the Panther paper when he was 22. Today he's still creating artwork and working with students and community groups. 

Emory Douglas: "We wanted to have a design element to the paper so that people would have something to look at. I always wanted to make things attractive. We were trying to get our message across to the broadest possible audience, through art and design, because art is a way to communicate, and we used it to sell our ideals and our program. And we always tried to do it in a language that was simple and that people would understand."


More examples of the posters and newspaper design of Emory Douglas.


Need a copy of Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas? Grab one here and get revolutionary today...



  • Donavee Chappell

    Great background for the new generation. I'm working on a film and would love to have a conversation. Thank you for your commitment and dedication.

  • Tom O&aposQuinn

    Wow, what a great post. Love this stuff.

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