World,  Design

Weapons of Reason release hardback compendium of the world’s most pressing challenges

It’s been a short but sweet journey for Weapons of Reason, a publication first published in 2015 by London-based design agency Human After All. Eight issues later (the eighth and final issue in the series ‘War Games’ is out now) sees Human After All devise a comprehensive and thought-provoking “best of” collection within the medium of a hardback book.

Above: Giacomo Bagnara’s inner cover illustration

Successfully funded via crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, Weapons of Reason – the hardback edition saw 1,067 backers pledge £27,825 to bring the edition to print. Published in early December 2020, the beautifully bound edition weighs in at 255 pages long and a highly produced finish. The overall quality is superb and is testament to HAA’s commitment and dedication to high quality, thought-provoking journalism. To quote their campaign, “In six years we have produced over 120 stories and 150,000 words written by experts, academics and journalists from across the globe, with the expressed goal of exploring how these eight subjects intersect with each other, and what exactly that means.”

Above: Weapons of Reason article focused on the polar landscape
Above: Vibrant illustration found within Weapons of Reason

Studying global topics such as the environment, population, health, society, sustenance, technology, economics and conflict, Weapons of Reason decides to confront these topics and explore and analyse key issues within each across their eight issues. Working with notable illustrators within each issue and with accompanying infographics, each written piece stands apart from the rest but feels unified as one overarching collection. 

The hardback edition sees Giacomo Bagnara’s illustration adorn the main cover, injecting colour into the white background. A series of 9 vector shapes form a head shape, interpreted as the power of human thought. This was also available as a print during their successful Kickstarter campaign. The inner sleeve depicts a range of people within a black and white repeat pattern. It’s a crowded scene which could reference the world’s overpopulation issues, but it also could be for graphical effect. It’s left up to the reader to decide and interpret as they wish, a common trait Weapons of Reason adopts. 

Above: Article with adjoining infographics
Above: Strong illustrative details adjoining an article

Understanding the world’s issues can sometimes be a daunting task and quite overwhelming, but Weapons of Reason have found a method of delivering this information with a prose which is approachable and yet divisive. Since personally discovering this small but loud publication back in 2015, it has grown into a read that challenges your thinking around today’s key topics and introduces you to new perspectives. Collating these crucial talking points into an approachable and highly visual experience makes the said task a far more enjoyable experience, and is by far Weapons of Reason’s calling card. Although the final piece of the jigsaw, this hardback edition leaves you with confidence over the facts, but doesn’t leave a feeling of dread that the global news media thrive upon. A publication that will be sorely missed – however I’d like to see them return with a retrospective in 10 years time.

Weapons of Reason hardback edition is out now. You can buy a copy here.

Weapons of Reason’s final issue ‘War Games’ is also out now, and available here.