Beggar Boards | Beg Boards In Johannesburg

Beg Boards in Johannesburg is my Art Academy graduation project. I conceptualised and completed the project while living in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2001.

Beg Boards – Cultural Context

There are lots of beggars in Johannesburg, many of them have the same “beg boards” which all look the same and have the same messages on them. Most are desperate outcries such as “No food, no job, no family. Please help. God Bless”.

Because of the before mentioned, the beggars don’t stand out anymore and people have become immune to them. My goal with this project was to see if I could make a difference (even if it was just a small one) by using my conceptual and design skills. I designed new Beg Boards for them and handed them out for free. My main objective with the project was to make the beggars stand out again and ultimately for the new boards to help them make more money.

Did it work?

I handed out their newly designed beg boards and came back after a week and a half to interview them again to find out if the beg boards had actually made a difference. I was pleased to find out that in all cases the beggars had made more money because the boards had stopped people in their tracks.

Back in the Netherlands I documented the whole project in a visual essay and a newspaper which I distributed for free.

I graduated with honours from the Art Academy that year and also won the Academy’s most prestigious Grand Prix Award, the Piet Bakker Award, which gets awarded to the student with the most provocative, innovative and ground breaking project.

Press & PR

The project and myself were published in numerous acclaimed National and International newspapers and magazines and i even made appearances on some of the Netherlands’ most respected Radio and TV shows (NCRV’s Cappuccino radio show and VARA’s Kopspijkers TV show to name a few). I was also invited by legendary Dutch Graphic Designer Anthon Beeke to join him in doing a guest lecture at a South African themed design conference.Beg-Boards-Johannesburg-Frank-van-RooijenBeg-Boards-Johannesburg-Frank-van-Rooijen

Skills: Content, Design, Pop Culture, Storytelling
Client: Personal Project