Case Study – Today’s Philosopher

Background

Philosophy can seem irrelevant to young adults who have not studied it. However, learning about philosophy is important for millennials because it can help a generation new to adulthood think about the world and their place in it. This has been philosophy’s role for centuries.

 

Project Brief

A philosophy magazine wanted to create an approachable entry-point for millenials to learn more about philosophy. My role was to develop a series of illustrations for introductory articles about historical philosophers. The articles were then distributed through social ads and sharable content.

 

Plato’s Theory of ‘The Forms’

Plato’s ‘Theory of Forms’ states that the physical realm is only a reflection of a truer and more perfect reality. Here, an inverted reflection takes up the majority of the image, because most of the time we see an imperfect copy of the truth, rather than truth itself.

 

Plato’s Theory of Beauty 

“What shall we say about those spectators, then, who can see a plurality of beautiful things, but not beauty itself?” The man depicted here has turned away from the flowers, his face in shadow. According to Plato, we see beautiful things around us all the time but fail to understand true beauty is and are therefore not shaped by its goodness.

Plato’s theory of the forms – Digital illustration

Plato’s theory of beauty – A man turns away from beauty and fails to be shaped by its goodness – Digital Illustration

Nietzsche’s Theory of the Übermench

Nietzsche speaks of a rising tide of atheism and society’s inability to fill the void religion had left. He prescribes the ‘Übermench’, or ‘Overman’, who fights to rise above the masses and lead society to its next stage of evolution. “The Übermench shall be the meaning of the earth… Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman – a rope over an abyss.”

Nietzsche’s “Übermench” pushes himself above society as a new ‘Christ figure’ reinventing their future amidst the turning gears of the industrial revolution – Digital Illustration

Nietzsche’s Theory of Religion

“God is dead,” says Friedrich Nietzsche, “… And we have killed him… Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?” Here we see the eye of God slowly dying. Nietzsche is not claiming the death of God in triumph, but voicing the need for society to fill the moral vacuum that religion had previously filled.

A digital illustration of Nietzsche’s famous declaration, “God is dead.” Here we see the life slowly fading from the symbolic eye of God.

Concept development sketches for the philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche.

Sartre’s Theory of Strange Freedom

We have far more freedom than we take advantage of. Jean-Paul Sartre says freedom is both beautiful and terrifying; “Man is condemned to be free.” To illustrate this, a man teeters on the edge of a cliff. He feels drawn to leap into the myriad of possibilities life might offer, but there is also the terrifying chance that he may fail and fall.

Sartre – A man leaps into an abyss teaming with possibility. Will he fly or fall? – Digital Illustration

Ideation sketches for the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre.