The Nose Number 20

This illustration was created for The Nose, a publication by Chwast dedicated to relevant (sometimes trivial) social issues. In Number 20, published in 2009, Chwast titles the issue “Crime Today.” The image features a gun loaded with colorful bullets, with each bullet labeled and intended for a specific target. The contrast between the comical coloring of the bullets and the seriousness of the subject matter speaks to the ironic quality that is typical of Chwast’s work.

Chwast was fervently anti-war, this disposition leads to the creation of some of his most famous work. Chwast states that human inclination towards violence and “the seemingly never-ending urge to resolve disputes with deadly conflict, century after century” keeps bringing him back to subject of war (Montgomery).

The gun image for The Nose #20 is composed in a modern, minimalist style. A cutaway of the pistol reveals the inner mechanics and bullets. This illustration of mechanics and geometric forms is reminiscent of Art Deco posters; however, the colors, minimalism, and sans-serif typeface represent contemporary innovations. This particular issue of The Nose addresses the very important issue of gun violence that is even more relevant today. Out of the seven bullets in the gun, only two of them are not targeting human beings. With targets like “a grocery clerk,” “a man on the bus,” and “a bystander,” Chwast emphasizes the senselessness of gun violence in America.

Chwast states, in his interview with Melissa Mazzoleni, that The Nose is one of his projects for which he is most proud. Due to financial burdens, Chwast had to stop publishing the Push Pin Graphic, but carried on his passion with The Nose. These publications served as Chwast’s expression of opinion and invented the concept of the designer as publisher (Design Week). Chwast describes his peace posters as a way of problem solving, stating that “If you have to do a peace poster, you approach it the same way you approach a commercial assignment. You find the right kind of symbols or metaphors in order to get the message across in a powerful way.” (Design Week). This technique is employed quite effectively in The Nose #20 due to the contrasting light mood, created by bright colors and simple layout, with the somber topic of gun violence illustrated as the subject.

Works Cited:
Mazzoleni, Melissa. “QUOTING CHWAST.” Print, vol. 68, no. 2, 2014, pp. 78-79. ProQuest,
Montgomery, Angus. “Seymour Chwast on Illustrating War.” Design Week (Online), May 10, 2016. ProQuest,
“PROFILE – SEYMOUR CHWAST: Point Man.” Design Week, vol. 18, no. 51, 2003. ProQuest,