Live and live differently – an Effortmark poster

Live and live differentlyBack in January 2020, I did a thing we don’t do any more: go to a conference. It was New Adventures 2020 in Nottingham and I chose it for two reasons: Andrew Travers recommended it, and I wanted to hear Akil Benjamin’s talk. Akil is a leader at COMUZI, doing “radically purposeful design” and I wanted to hear what he had to say about design, artificial intelligence, and what radical design might be about.

The conference was great and I heard lots of other talks that inspired me, but it was Akil’s talk that really struck home. Early on, he put up a slide that said:


He told us that he was inspired by an exceptionally difficult year, 2017, that made him rethink and refocus. This chimed with me because I had an exceptionally difficult year due to leukaemia in 2017, where I was also forced to rethink and refocus. I thought that Akil’s words had a lot of power for me, so I asked him if I could collaborate on a poster with Julia Allum.

We met, and discovered many connections – mostly in ideas and philosophy, and also that my childhood included several years living in Guyana and his family heritage includes Guyanese roots.

This poster combines bright colours and a fractured background

Our poster is a collaboration. Akil and Julia have their own ideas and interpretation of it, and we hope you’ll bring your own thoughts to it, too.

Here are mine:

  • It celebrates our Guyanese connection by featuring scarlet macaws (ara macao), spectacular birds that are a feature of the tropical rainforest that covers parts of Guyana, and they are a living embodiment of the bright colours of the Caribbean – Guyana being both part of the South American mainland, and a part of the West Indies.
  • They fly on fractured backgrounds that to me symbolise the challenges that we live through.
  • There are two of them because even when we feel alone, there’s always someone out there who wants to be a support and help – and that someone might even be a better version of ourselves.

Get the poster here or from Julia’s shop

As before, Julia has generously agreed to make the poster available with a creative commons license. So to print your own: download the poster artwork (.pdf)

If you’d prefer to get a top quality giclée print, or a large size (up to A1), then Julia has Live Differently listed in her shop.

Live and live differently - an Effortmark poster. Two scarlet macaws with yellow heads and blue wings fly from a fractured blue background to a fractured green background
Live and Live Differently, an Effortmark poster. Words Akil Benjamin, design Julia Allum