Martin Luther King, Jr. Tributes

It is time to look at things differently.


The way this Starbucks tribute ad for Martin Luther King, Jr. reversed the alphabet is simple and clever; and the “Again” succinctly references a turbulent year in U.S. race relations.

The ad combined with a year of horrific shootings made me remember a book cover about MLK that I saw yours ago (and took hours to find again!) You can see more of it here.

The cover also uses a stark black, white, and red palette. It is not totally clear in this image, but the red dot is a hole that is punched out of the cover to reveal the red book cover underneath the sleeve. Instead of a portrait or an iconic image of MLK speaking, the photograph and the hole turn the viewer into either the person taking a shot at him or into a helpless bystander in the crowd. It creates an ominous feeling to contrast with the hopeful title of the book. Somehow, all of that empty white space makes it even more eerie to me. I’m not sure if the hole was precisely placed on his throat to symbolize the efforts to kill his speeches, but I would like to think so.


The Starbucks ad also made me curious about other tributes to Martin Luther King, Jr. Here are a couple that were featured on

I think the first one works on so many levels by using an exclamation mark to reference the stars and stripes of the American flag and to grab your attention.

The second poster nicely pulls the dream of equality into a compact image.

Leave a Reply