Backspace is a design consultancy dedicated to research, development, and promotion of design in the public interest.

We design web sites, printed materials, information visualization and motion graphics for leading media companies as well as local and international non-profit organizations including Amnesty International USA, Human Rights Watch, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the United Nations.

Backspace was founded by John Emerson, an activist, graphic designer, writer, and programmer based in New York City.

Since May 2002, John has maintained a weblog of clippings, notes and essays on design and activism at He is the author of An Introduction to Activism on the Internet, January 2005, and Visualizing Information for Advocacy: An Introduction to Information Design, January 2008. John's writing about graphic design has been published in Communication Arts, Emigre and Print, featured in Metropolis, HOW, and The Wall Street Journal, and translated into Italian by the AIAP.

He has taught design at The Beacon School and Parsons School of Design, lectured and conducted workshops in Beirut, Belize, Florence, Montego Bay, New York City, Tokyo, and Warsaw.

His posters have been exhibited in Florence, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York City, Sao Paulo, and Utrecht, and are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, and the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in Los Angeles.

He co-founded the social media consultancy Apperceptive in 2006 and sold it to Six Apart Ltd in 2008.

Work is a selected portfolio of projects for for-profit corporations, NGO’s, and unincorporated activist groups. Check the etc section for some non-work related fun.

Thanks for stopping by. You can reach us by email at or on Twitter at @backspace.