“Are We Next?” by Wes Wilson

“Are We Next?”

“Are We Next?” was a personal project for Wes Wilson that he designed in 1965. Wilson stated in an interview with collectors weekly that “It was a symbolic anticipation of what could happen if our government adopted military power tactics over traditional American ethical and humanitarian principles.” Wilson wanted to express that for a decent world exist we need to treat people with equal respect. He created this poster because he was very upset Bay of the Pigs under Kennedy and the Vietnam War was what set Wilson over the edge for the design. The first time Wilson showed “Are You Next?” to Mr. Ivor Powell, the West Coast Litho pressman, the poster originally only had “Be Aware” at the bottom and Mr. Powell thought that was not enough to startle the audience. It was Mr. Powell that suggested to add “Are We Next?” at the top of the poster. That fall Wes Wilson had the poster printed and took it to Berkeley for an anti-war rally and it brought a lot of attention at the march that day. Many people thought the poster too much and outspoken like Allen Ginsberg and people from the Anti-Defamation League. They questioned Wilson’s design choice and purpose behind the piece. This poster is one of the reasons and pieces that attracted Chet Helms of the Family Dog to Wes Wilson. This poster is a personal triumph for Wilson because it introduced him to poster design and it expressed one of Wilson’s political concerns. I like this poster because on how impactful it is; it truly makes you think. When I first saw this poster I received the chills and my hair stood on-end looking at it; it was like a slap in the face. I also really love type arrangement and font. I like how the stem of the ‘a’ in ‘Are’ connects into the background of “Be Aware”. I appreciate how “Be Aware” is part of the American flag, but that “Are We Next?” is not part of the American flag. I believe that this design decision makes the poster that much more powerful and thought provoking.


Marks, Ben. “Psychedelic Poster Pioneer Wes Wilson on The Beatles, Doors, and Bill Graham.” Collectors Weekly, 19 Sept. 2011, www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/psychedelic-poster-pioneer-wes-wilson/.