Participating in protests and demonstrations is an important demonstration of voice and passion, and signs make it better. Here is a guide on 15 practical protest sign ideas.
When you show up to a protest, you want to represent why you are all there. It is good to show up and participate, and even better to make a protest sign. With today’s climate crisis and a fear for the future, showing up to protests is essential to help combat the problem.
The Climate Crisis: Protest
Back in 2018, the youth-led and -organized movement Fridays for Future was created in response to the climate crisis and threat of irreversible disaster. According to the United Nations (UN), no place on Earth is safe from the effects of climate change and that billions of tons of CO2 are released into the atmosphere annually. The UN lists some major effects of climate change:
- Global temperatures rising: if global emissions are not lowered, temperatures could rise above three degrees celcius and cause irreversible damage to ecosystems.
- Rising sea levels: In our lifetime, we could see millions displaced from the 40% of humans who live near coasts.
- Food and water insecurity: eroded soil from climate change reduces carbon sequestration and ruins crops.
- Extreme weather: increased in quantity and intensity, 90% of disasters are classified as weather-and climate-related.
- Threats to international security: as can be seen by Putin’s war in Ukraine fueled with funds from oil trade, competition of waning resources create instability.
Now is the time to protest to governments and corporations to demonstrate a collective voice of concern, and the UN agrees the time is now and we can still win. Here are 15 protest sign ideas to demonstrate your voice.
How to Make a Protest Sign
Before you have an idea for your protest sign, it is good to know how to make one. Here are simple ways to make protest signs:
- Tape or glue cardboard paper or poster paper to a wooden or cardboard stick.
- Cut two holes in a sign and use string to make a necklace.
- Use your body: draw on your chests or arms.
- Cut a wide rectangular banner to be held by friends of two or more.
Protest Sign Ideas: How it Looks
Protest sign ideas can be hard to come up with if seemingly out of nowhere. First, you should make sure the sign can be easily read from a distance. You should choose colors that contrast and thereby help make each other visible. Some ideas for color combinations include:
- Red background: black, white or yellow text.
- Black background: white or yellow text.
- Yellow Background: red, black, or dark blue
If you use something from cardboard, black or red letters are the most legible. Try to use something you already have at home, or take something from the recycling bin so you don’t need to buy unnecessary paper.
This is a great example of well thought-through sign with clearly visible lettering on cardboard and a fun but sincere reference to the term ‘Mother Earth’:
Once you’ve decided on the color palette you can come up with what it says. Here are some written and drawn protest sign ideas.
Make a Good Protest Sign: What it Says
For a climate crisis protest, there are many things to be referenced. These include political, environmental, and economic references. For smaller signs, pick a quick, short, or witty line that will fit your sign the best. Some popular examples are:
1. “System change not climate change” 2. “We want a future” 3. “There is no planet-b” 4. “Stop (ocean, air, land) pollution” 5. “The wrong amazon is burning” 6. “The climate is changing, so should we 7. “Act now”
These are just some ideas for what to write on signs. For taller or wider signs, you can write out longer sentences. These can be made up by you from how you feel or you could try cutting out words from different signs and putting them together in different order.
8. “The system should change if the climate is changing” 9. “We want no planet-b, stop pollution, act now” 10. “Stop land pollution, the wrong amazon is burning”
A successful protest sign is one that can be read quickly and effectively. If you make any pop-cultural or historical references, make sure its relevance is clear to what you are commenting on.
This protest sign makes a witty connection between politicians being worried about election cycles and the long term catastrophe of climate change:
Another form of communication on the sign could be more visual — here are some protest drawing ideas:
Ideas for Pictures on Protest Signs
Drawings and illustrations are just as effective for protest signs at a climate demonstration, and can strengthen the words on your protest sign. Five ideas for drawings are:
11. Planet Earth: full, in process of melting, destroyed, etc. 12. Fire: make the words appear on fire or an image like forests, planet, or homes 13. Flood: around cities, landscapes, etc. 14. Prohibition sign: over actions that cause climate change 15. Mercury thermometer sign, representing temperature
This protest sign visually makes use of earth and blue ocean waves:
- Environmental Organizations: 8 NGOs and Non-Profits Worth Supporting
- Take Action: 15 Everyday Ways to Combat Climate Change
- Save the Rainforest: 7 Things You Can Do
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