A Vaccine Won’t Save the World, A Free One Will



The objective of this poster was to clearly communicate the driving mission of the Free the Vaccine campaign to a wide audience and bring attention to the fact that a COVID-19 vaccine must be free & accessible in order for the pandemic to end. The poster also worked to serve as a call to action for viewers to sign their individual support to the Open COVID Pledge, adding global pressure to institutions to sign on as well.

The Project:

A black poster with an image of a syringe floating over a cartoon-like globe with the phrase “a vaccine won’t SAVE THE WORLD. A FREE ONE WILL.” in block white and pink letters. Underneath this image is a paragraph stating “Making sure the COVID-19 vaccine is free and accessible in all parts of the world is key to ending the pandemic. A vaccine alone won’t save us, but a free one will. Sign the Open COVID Pledge.” At the very bottom is a link in blue “freethevapcine.org/sign”.


Print it and post it.

Revise the text.

Design it differently.

What worked?

In working with other FtV volunteers and feedback from activist Avram Finkelstein, I think that this poster was able to evolve into a final product that achieved communicating in a very precise way. The imagery and text also effectively connects with the emotional piece of feeling that the world is under threat and needs saving.

    Original files can be provided for exhibition

Reflections from Fiona Davey

What was the process/journey of creating this work?

My squad (Seal-3) had been working to approach the virologist Hanneke Schuitemaker working to lead the vaccine initiative at Janssen Pharmaceuticals under Johnson and Johnson. While researching our protagonist, we came across an interview in which she said “treatments save lives, vaccines save populations”. Something about this phrasing really stuck in my head and so when we began to work on creating graphic designs combining images with concise phrases, I had already been thinking about the words and ideas juxtaposed around a vaccine as salvation. While attending one of our weekly meetings and upon hearing about this new mission, the phrase “A vaccine won’t save the world. A free one will.” just appeared in my mind. I began workshopping different ideas of imagery to combine with the phrase. After a lot of helpful feedback from other FtV volunteers and mentors, the poster came to the design we ended with.

What were some of the responses to this work?

There were some really exciting responses to this work including feedback from Avram Finkelstein that the phrase “A vaccine won’t save the world. A free one will.” was the gold standard for concise and clear communication.

About this project
  • Fiona Davey

July, 2020


United Kingdom, Cambridge


Creative Commons BY

Download Original/High-Resolution File: 2.png