#PANDEMOCRAZY is Leah Fosbenner’s magnum opus: a mammoth, 574-page collection of photos, news articles, memes and quotes that reveal the stark absurdities and divisive politics of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leah, who graduated from ISD in 2015, has recently completed a BA in Communication Design at the Hochschule Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences. #PANDEMOCRAZY, her final thesis submission, received the highest possible grade award and placed her in the top ten percent of her cohort.

“I wanted to use this work to show how the basic rights we enjoy as humans have been challenged,” Leah explains.

“It’s a mix of English and German, because I wanted to reach international people with it as well as Germans. I started working on it when things got bad – around February or March this year – and tried to gather as much text and as many images as I could.”

#PANDEMOCRAZY is simultaneously satirical, touching, and shocking. Above all, Leah says, she hopes it is a work that will give people hope and provoke them to think.  

The inspiration for her thesis was a poster competition sponsored by the Sparkasse to commemorate 70 years since the establishment of Germany’s Grundgesetze (basic rights). Students were tasked with promoting the Grundgesetz through a social design campaign.

“Love is not mentioned in the Grundgesetz, so my designs took basic principles and replaced words with ‘love’. Many German people will recognise these important phrases. I think it was this work that triggered my idea for my Bachelor thesis,” Leah says.  

In a separate poster competition for Deutsches Studentenwerk in 2017, Leah’s design was displayed throughout Berlin. Following a public vote, hers placed in the top four of more than 700 entries.

It was at ISD that Leah Fosbenner discovered her passion for writing and design.

“I was interested in design technology. In fact, Mr Livingstone played a big part in supporting my interest in design,” Leah recalls.

“Even the teachers who had nothing to do with the field I’m interested in still inspired me in certain aspects. We were doing so much writing and creative writing at ISD and this is a huge part of my work. 

“ISD is a great school and it helped me get to where I am today.”

Leah has been accepted into the Masters programme and resumes her studies later this year.