407 COVID autism awareness posters
Date: November 2020
Designed by: Kirk Cetinic
Credit: kirkcetinic.design / @kirk_cetinic_design / @KirkCetinic
From the Designer: "I have spoken publicly at Albert Park College about my educational passage being on the Autism spectrum and my design influences. I have also spoken at the Autism At Work Summit in July 2019 about my experience being a freelance designer on the Autism spectrum. I have participated in the Aspect Future Leaders Program in 2019, a program for autistic adults who demonstrate commitment and resilience to learn the fundamentals of Autism Advocacy. It was held in Parramatta, NSW and was organised by Autism Spectrum Australia and Autism CRC. One notable project of mine is the Different, Not Defective Solo Exhibition, held in 2019. The series of ten posters sought to effect social change by raising awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by self-representing work by a designer with ASD on the subject of ASD. The challenges which Autistic people face with communication, relationships, education and employment and the way they experience and perceive their surroundings are included in the work. I also created a video which featured in the Spectrospective: Work 2019, a campaign run by Amaze Inc, where I spoke about my work experience, Autism and employment.
After observing the effects of the pandemic on society in the news and my local area, it was a confronting sight. People were wearing masks, and social distancing posters started appearing in my local supermarket. I was also unable to attend meetup and social groups. As an individual on the autism spectrum, I also experienced periods of anxiety during the pandemic.
This series of posters and infographic raise awareness of autism in the post-COVID Era. They expose the difficulties experienced by those on the autism spectrum exacerbated by COVID. By highlighting the psychological effects of the COVID19 Pandemic on society, one can draw poignant parallels between neurotypicals and those on the spectrum. For instance, the effects of social distancing measures, closing of non-essential services and forcing people to remain indoors have increased rates of depression, unemployment and loneliness.
Although technology has now made it possible to bridge the gap in distancing, communication and productivity, it has limitations. It can never replace the human element of face to face encounters. It is not easy to pick up the nuances of body language in a virtual space. The picture doesn’t feel complete. It is not as comprehensive, readable or memorable. The experience often vaporises. The pandemic has put the rest of society into the shoes of an autistic person. There has been an exponential growth of counselling and telehealth services during COVID.
This collective experience of the pandemic has hopefully increased empathy and understanding of the complexities of social isolation, marginalisation and alienation. The infographic also raises awareness of this complexity and compares the autism unemployment rate to the COVID unemployment rate. It encourages employers to rethink their hiring strategies after the pandemic to employ workers who are autistic or have other disabilities. The posters and infographic were created using Adobe Illustrator, in Melbourne, Australia.”