Streets of Sadness

The hard sell isn’t easy. The product is still king, or even poor, even in spite of efforts that suggest otherwise. My role to leverage sales and execute the perfect media strategy defunct with a bland, useless object to sell. Its reputation precedes it. However, selling yourself is even harder, particularly if you are homeless and your ‘audience’ – those passerbys hurrying past, desperately trying to avoid eye contact; feign a lack of interest. The homeless person has regretably been seen before – its place as a genuine charity cause tarred by their commonplace presence (sleeping bag, cardboard sign, scruffy hat functioning as a collection tin, dog) in the cityscape, their “neediness” perhaps even doubted. As such, some creativity is needed – an injection of innovation to lighten a over-saturated and depressingly grim “sector”. In other words could design have a role in helping the homeless? Could bright fresh thinking tempt donations from those speedily trotting past? Streets of Sadness thinks yes.

Streets of Sadness is a project by Carlos Segura of the T26 type foundry that features the more convincing and imaginative approaches to begging, scruffy clothes and dirty hair otherwise failing to do the trick. The project’s website subsequently includes a range of the best cardboard written copy with the idea that users buy these signs – the idea being that Streets of Sadness “showcases hardship on the streets of the world”, which otherwise lies frequently noticed, but rarely taken in. I like the concept for its role in underlining the difficult job that the homeless face – a daily hard sell of the woes and lack of bed/roof for the want of eradicating the former. Their signs consquently sell their dream and ambition, which with a felt tip, minimal writing space and a damp piece of rescued packaging definitely is not easy. Below are some of the more ‘successful’, and somewhat paradoxically ‘entertaining’ results. They illustrate that creative modes of persuasion are the homeless person’s secret tool, besides the cute dog that is…

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