If any positives can be found in the aftermath of Friday’s tragic events in Paris, it is the nearly worldwide outpour of outrage and show of solidarity as we seek more information justice and healing. As part of that process, many took to social media, including Facebook, which has offered the opportunity to convert profile photo avatars to pseudo images of French flags. And then there is the ‘symbol.’
Amid discord and chaos has emerged what Time.com calls an enduring image of “unity and peace.” French native and professional illustrator Jean Jullien eschewed pen and ink for paint brush to create, upon learning of the tragedy, a “symbol of peace for Paris” – a veritable peace symbol combined with the City of Lights’ most famous site: the Eiffel Tower.
Never could Jullien have imagined how his artwork would become such a unifying emblem for his country and beyond. After initially posting a cell phone image of his work on Instagram Friday evening, it quickly generated nearly 130,000 likes on his account and 48,000 retweets on Twitter. As of yesterday, according to Time.com, Instagram’s own post of the image had topped 1.3 million likes.
Why such resonance of this simple mark? Because, like any great symbol, it is authentic and poignant; evoking emotion and beautiful in its simplicity. It is a lesson for anyone looking to communicate to the masses; start a movement; develop a campaign. Such communiqués cannot be forced but, rather, offered for consideration – through words and/or images crafted to move and compel.