Motivational posters

Okay, so you all know those motivational posters, where they put a big photo on a black background with some abstract noun that's something you're supposed to strive for. EXCELLENCE, say, or PERSISTENCE, or INTEGRITY. And a little inspirational sentence at the bottom to go along with the noun.

And most of you are familiar with Despair, Inc., which sells lovely funny "demotivational" posters, which look just like motivational posters but are all about depressing and negative things. BLAME; APATHY; BITTERNESS.

But recently, people on the web have started putting together sets of posters with the same look, but on geek topics. For example, there are RPG motivational posters, and Star Trek inspirational posters.

And the thing is, although some of the jokes are pretty funny, most of them seem to me to have little to do with the motivational-poster form. They don't promote (even jokingly or sarcastically) an idea or an ideal; they mention a noun (often a concrete noun) having something to do with the topic, and they associate an image (often a picture of the concrete noun), and then they have a one-sentence joke related to the noun. Most of them entirely miss the "motivational" part.

Missing-Point-SmallIt's like writing an essay in the form of a series of questions and answers and then calling it an interview. Or decorating a cake with pepperoni-shaped frosting circles and calling it a pizza. There's a surface resemblance, but the content is almost unrelated to the content of what they're parodying, which (for me) makes the parodies fall flat as parodies.

Which probably just means that I'm completely missing the point of what they're trying to do. If I think of these not as parodies of motivational posters, but as roleplaying jokes, or Star Trek jokes, that just happen to be presented in a format that looks more or less like a motivational poster, then I like them more.

Anyway, if you want to make your own motivational posters, you can stop by Motivator, upload an image, and add a title and some text.

4 Responses to “Motivational posters”

  1. Tom Galloway

    I agree completely. I’ve been mildly annoyed by all the fuss being made over the Star Trek ones since they just aren’t good motivational posters; it’s a great concept (or blend of concepts) for running with, but to work for me it needs to work both as a Trek reference *and* as a motivational (or demotivational) poster.

  2. Jed

    Note that if you create a motivational poster at Motivator, you have download it and post it elsewhere if you want others to see it. Motivator won’t host the images; if you link to an output page at Motivator, that link will be broken within a couple hours or less.

    (Which is why I deleted the three links to such items that were posted here this morning; all of the links were broken by the time I saw them.)

  3. Jed

    Very nice, Michael–those are exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for when I first heard the phrase “Star Trek motivational posters.” Thanks for putting them together, and thanks for sending them!

    Btw, it turns out that the reason my journal thought your comment was spam is that freewebs is listed on the comment-spam-lookup site; any comment containing a freewebs URL is gonna get automatically marked as spam. This is the first time that’s come up; if others have a need to use freewebs URLs in comments here, I can probably tweak the weighting.

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