Piersanti wins Graphis Gold Award for ‘Indian Ocean Tsunami 2004’

Artwork to be added to Graphis Social & Political Poster Collection


Alissa Woockman

Josh Persanti

Debbie Hernandez, Cartoonist

With its clear blue skies, a speckled sun and one ravenous tsunami wave equipped with burning red eyes and a threatening bite, it’s a work of art that will have you absorbed in its elaborate details.

The poster created by WSC’s professor of Graphic Design, Josh Piersanti, was recently honored with the Graphis Gold Award for his work on the poster “Indian Ocean Tsunami 2004.” A piece communicating the devastating results and historical nature of such a disastrous incident.

Graphis, the International Journal of Visual Communication in New York City, has recognized the best work in graphic design, advertising and photography since 1944.

“Having seen the quality of many of the other posters and having heard of many of the designers and design firms involved, I was more than a little shocked that my work was selected for the award,” Piersanti said.

According to Piersanti, the mosaic tile style of the poster was chosen as a visually interesting way to create that connection with history. From initial concepts to completion, the poster took a month and a half to complete.

 “I’m a graphic designer, not an artist, but I deliberately chose a style that would take me closer to the art realm than what I’m used to doing,” Piersanti said. “This helped me find new and effective ways of communicating the core concepts of the poster.”

When achieving work on a new piece, Piersanti aims to visually communicate the core concepts unique to that work.

“For most projects, those core concepts develop from a client’s goals, but for a personal project like this one, I was fortunate to be able to choose those concepts myself,” Piersanti said.

Piersanti’s masterpiece will be included in the Graphis Social & Political Posters Collection, which features the most visually compelling posters selected from international entries.

“To me, the award is a reminder that the work we do here, as faculty and students at Wayne State, is as important and high-quality as work done anywhere in the world,” Piersanti said.