The Doomsday Clock at 75

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The Doomsday Clock is many things all at once: It’s a metaphor, it’s a logo, it’s a brand, and it’s one of the most recognizable symbols of the past 100 years.

Chicago landscape artist Martyl Langsdorf, who went by her first name professionally, created the Doomsday Clock design for the June 1947 cover of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, published by the news organization and nonprofit behind the iconic Doomsday Clock.

It sits at the crossroads of science and art, and therefore communicates an immediacy that few other forms can. As designer Michael Bierut says, the Clock is “the most powerful piece of information design of the 20th century.”

The Doomsday Clock has permeated not only the media landscape but also culture itself. As you’ll see in the pages of this book, more than a dozen musicians, including The Who, The Clash, and Smashing Pumpkins, have written songs about it. It’s referenced in countless novels, comic books, movies, and TV shows. Even the shorthand, the way we announce time on the Doomsday Clock—“It Is Two Minutes to Midnight” (or whatever the current time might be)—has been adopted into the global vernacular.

Edited by Robert K. Elder, JC Gabel. Published by Hat & Beard Press in 2022. Hardcover, measures 11 x 8.8 inches, 184 pages. ISBN 9781955125154


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