The symbol shows synergy among its verbal component, graphic element, typeface and colour.
The verbal component section below shows that the word exists, is understood and is pronounced in the same way in many languages, and in each conveys exactly the same meaning/idea: ‘enough is enough’. It also clarifies the relevance of the exclamation mark.
The graphic element section below expands on the drawing. This graphically displays a gesture conveying the idea of ‘drawing a bottom line’ on a discussion / an issue / a matter, that is largely received in numerous cultural contexts. The section also stresses the value-neutral strength of the symbol.
The typeface section below spells out the relevance of the ‘stencil’ font and the importance of the colour red. It also shows that it is still widely used to write messages for social campaigns and political actions.
‘Basta’ is a word of Latin origin used as an interjection meaning, ‘enough”, ‘that’s it’. It exists, conveys exactly the same meaning/idea, and has current everyday use in many languages such as Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German.
In Russian, Bulgarian, the word is spelled using the Cyrillic characters БАСТА / баста. It has the same pronunciation and meaning, and its use in the everyday language is common.
The word exists in English and has the same connotation. Shakespeare used the word basta in his comedy ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ (Act I, Scene 1, line 198). In 1777, the word basta was used in the diary of an officer from the Regiment Prienz Friedrich during the American Revolution (von Hille and Lynn 1993:67). The use of the word basta in modern and everyday English is less common because either unknown or considered archaic. In modern English literature books, the word is replaced with the expression ‘enough is enough’. On a less literary level, basta is considered a valid Scrabble word.
However, few recent uses are worth mentioning. The Wall Street Journal and the magazine VoxEurop used the word in their titles.
Hillary Clinton dropped a line during the presidential campaign and said ‘I have just one word for Mr. Trump, BASTA!’. Within moments of saying it, searches for the word “basta” lit up the Internet and spiked 2,550% on Google search.
During a demonstration in New York in November 2015, the slogan BASTA TRUMP was shown on banners and on a T-shirt worn by an anti-Trump activist.
Ordinary Rumanian and Polish people largely understand the meaning of the word basta although their use in their everyday conversation is limited as they consider this word old-fashioned and usually used/heard in old movies.
The Danish and Norwegian expression ‘Og dermed basta’ has the same connotation and is translated into English as ‘that’s final’ or ‘end of discussion’ (Wordsworth and Film Sebastian from 14:30 to 14:36).
Grammatically, the exclamation mark is usually used after an interjection to express strong feelings and to indicate a rising tone of voice to emphasise the meaning of the word. Moreover, its use generally conveys a sense of determination.
Finally, it is used in many warning signs.
The design reproduces the typical gesture Italians do with their hands to stress the meaning of their interjection of ‘enough is enough’, ‘that’s it’. However, used to graphically display the idea of ‘drawing a bottom line’ on a discussion / an issue / a matter, this gesture is a non-verbal way to say ‘enough is enough / ‘that’s it’, which is largely received and understood in numerous cultural contexts beyond the Italian boundaries.
Its does not convey the idea of violence and avoids potential political (left / right hand) identification possible with other logos. For this reason, the symbol can be considered value-neutral.
The typeface called ‘stencils’ developed during the 1968 Revolution in Paris. It is still associated with the cultural revolution of the 60s and 70s and considered the expression of the political street art. Its success is linked to its ‘simplicity, mobility, adaptability, and accessibility’. Its power lies in its simplicity that makes it accessible to anyone and, by extension, everyone or the mass. This gives the messages a sense authority through anonymity. The individual writing the message remains anonymous. However, with the use of this same typeface the single is in connection with the anonymous mass. Operating within the dominant cultural hierarchy, anonymity offers the unique opportunity to give voice to the voiceless and visibility to the invisible. As it conveys a sense of distinct power, messages written with the stencil become extremely powerful. Its extensive use is based on its user-friendly rudimental technology that allows cutting, moving and combining single letters, composing new words, creating new templates, and ensure “endless mechanical reproduction of a (…) text”.
The colour red of the typeface communicates feelings of frustration and anger, and evokes the idea of fight.
As it still transmits the emotions linked to protest movements, the stencils typeface is still widely used to write messages for social activism and political protest.
The symbol acts as a ‘meme’ conveying the idea of actions aimed at reacting and saying BASTA! to an issue or matter. Word and design singularly convey and mutually reinforce the same meaning. The colour red and the exclamation mark singularly communicate and mutually reinforce the idea of fight and determination.
The combination of symbol and slogan allows reconciling actions’ crucial requirement to convey the image of unity with activists’ wish to be creative in their slogans. Altogether the symbol is understood in various languages and is largely received in numerous cultural contexts. It conveys a simple, univocal and authoritative core statement and puts forward a unanimous demand. Its common use can unify and transform national demonstrations into a truly transnational action and unite scattered activists into a protesting mass. For this, it can have a powerful impact at international level. Simultaneously, the symbol can be customised with slogans formulated according to linguistic needs and creative preferences. This can engage and empower in the same way activists in different countries and of different cultures. For this, it can make a strong impact at local level. For its capacity to be associated with various national and international social issues and political matters, the symbol allows capitalising on its communicative strength. Its registration as a Trade Mark allows to control its use and the narrative of the protest. Its value-neutral interpretation hinders any possible association with any type of potentially controversial categorisation.
For its possible ‘snowclone‘ usage, it has the potential to become the new ‘brand’ for a large variety of social campaigns and political protests, and to convey a strong protest symbolic power capable to motivate, rally and unify protesters. With the snowclone usage and bespoke tailoring of its logo/slogan, this one standard but customisable symbol allows the manufacturing of products custom-made on demand. In commercial and marketing terms, this means that the symbol offers the main feature of the ‘adaptive mass customisation’.
Its creation was guided by this research-based project whose mission is to give a distinct identity and a stronger voice to social and political activism actions, and its aims is to respond to the 9 weaknesses identified in today’s practices of social and political activism. It builds on the study of essential theoretical foundations of activism, protests and nonviolent public actions, and on the analysis of 4 past (un)successful social campaigns and political protests.
The Trade Mark is registered in thirteen different international classes of goods and services. Therefore, it can be used on a large variety of activism merchandise to be shown in conventional and alternative tactics.
Our external shop(s) offers a selection of these products showing several slogans formulated using different verbal formulae and templates in many languages and on various social and political topics. These include, but are not limited to, t-shirts, caps, drawstring bags, tote bags, umbrellas, flags, banners and pins. However, for its capacity to be associated with various national and international social issues and political matters and to integrate any linguistic and personal customisation of the text, activists, campaigners and protesters can write and direct the narrative of their protests. For this they can contact us to propose their own topics and slogans, and produce thier own licenced personalised gadgets for their specific social and political actions.