It's been over a month since we first wrote about Stay Sane, Stay Safe, the poster platform founded by Hague-based graphic designers Max Lennarts, Menno de Bruijn, and writer Ronald de Leeuw.
Today the site, which hopes "to support lifesavers and to inspire home-stayers" in times of Covid-19, has attracted over 1,800 uplifting posters contributed from designers in 85 countries. Anyone is allowed to download, print and share them, helping to spread positive (and often funny) messages to get us through lockdown.
"Initially, the main goal was to find a partner who was willing to print posters so we can send them to hospitals. Besides that, we just wanted to make and share posters to support our lifesavers and to inspire others to stay at home and, not to forget, to keep smiling," says Ronald, who didn't expect the platform to become so popular.
"Another thing we really wanted to pull-off was keeping the creative community active," he continues. "These times are also tough for us designers, so we really wanted to give something back. By inviting everyone with a good idea to send in a poster, and giving them the proper credits they deserve, we hoped they might end up getting a gig or two out of it."
Max adds: "The best part about shouting out online is that, once you share it, it's not just your project anymore, it's also the world's. When you invite others to pitch in, it inspires and empowers them to take control as well. And then, ironically, it kind of spreads like the virus itself. Just digitally and way less destructively."
Since the start of the project, the trio has sent posters to 27 hospitals in The Netherlands, held collaborations with other designers and studios, partnered up with brands such as WeTransfer, and gained international press coverage in everything from It's Nice That to The Guardian. The posters have been projected onto giant buildings and there have been open art exhibitions, too.
"Obviously, we couldn't have done that without the tremendous help and efforts of others," says Max. "Just imagine the look on a designer's face when we tell them their poster got selected for print or exhibition. They go nuts!"
Menno adds: "We're doing everything pro bono and we're fully transparent. The nice thing is that everyone is willing to help us out. Practically, we're at a point where we really have to find some ways to generate some income for ourselves to keep us and, more important, the project alive! A project like this takes a ton of time to manage which we can’t put in paid projects. So, that's a new goal for now and in the long run."