The Art of World War III

(originally posted on Motherboard)

Motherboard, the authors, and the Atlantic Council’s Art of Future Warfare project helped bring together a group of leading visual artists and illustrators, as well as entries from a crowd-sourced online contest, to reveal the art of World War III.


Bill McMullen is an artist and sculptor whose work focuses on hip-hop, science fiction and urban culture. His work has ranged from Beastie Boys album covers to his iconic “AD-AT.”

This series of posters explores the essential elements of security in an interconnected society where every scrap of information is a potential target for surveillance or interception.

Bill McMullen
“Hot Tech”

Bill McMullen

Bill McMullen 
“Eyes in the Sky”


Jordan Clayton is a creative director and Abby Clayton is a designer, with experience at multiple leading advertising agencies between them.

Reflecting their advertising experience, the Claytons built a marketing campaign for the war effort, involving everything from key catchphrases to an iconic logo. They also echoed past marketing campaigns of World War II, exploring the different kinds of shortages and public involvement that might be needed in a future war.

Jordan and Abby Clayton

Jordan and Abby Clayton
“Victory Drive”


August Cole is director of the Atlantic Council’s Art of Future Warfare project and co-author of Ghost Fleet. Adam Proia is a studio manager at a Boston ad agency.

Convincing the occupied that their new life is safer and more prosperous than the one they just had torn from their hands by violent invasion is the focus of this poster from the Hawaii Special Administrative Zone authorities.

August Cole and Adam Proia


Sam Cole is a filmmaker based in Brooklyn, New York. Cole co-directed and shot Danchi No Yume – Dreams of the Projects, a feature documentary about Japanese hip-hop icon Anarchy.

The “S” in the shark tooth meant trouble is not far away. The primary resistance group around Honolulu, the N.S.M. borrowed their name from America’s insurgent adversaries because many of their tactics were learned in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sam Cole
“North Shore Mujahideen [ N.S.M.]”


EG Douglas is a freelance writer based in Scotland. A graduate from the University of Glasgow in both aerospace engineering and war studies, he enjoys considering the speculative nature of science fiction and how it can shape the development of technology and society. This poster was a featured entry from the Art of Future Warfare project’s creative challenge.

Future conflicts will have to factor in the necessity of civilian opinion to a far more immediate degree, but if leveraged appropriately such a reality could be advantageous, both at home and abroad.

EG Douglas
“Win the Peace”


“Spike” is a European illustrator whose work focuses on future-war and science fiction imagery.

A vacation paradise aflame in the iconic harbor backdrop of this poster is meant to galvanize America’s distant tragedy into an immediate and urgent response.

“Never Again”


William S. McCallister is a retired military officer who served in various infantry and special operations assignments specializing in civil-military, psychological, and information operations.

Future war will continue to require simple messaging methods of the “Loose Lips Sink Aeroships” variety. The “Watch What You Say” poster continues the tradition of admonishing the public to do what they are told in wartime.

William S. McCallister
“Watch What You Say”


Chris Martin and Ben Mauro are a writer and artist duo who created the future-war series Engines of Extinction. Mauro has also worked on feature films Elysium and Chappie.

These recruitment posters make an appeal to those who will become next-generation special operations forces that will be asked to make an even more profound, life-altering commitment to elite units than even today’s operators.

Chris Martin and Ben Mauro
“Make History”