The term ‘myth’ is commonly associated with mythical narratives, depicting magnificent dragons and heroic fighters with above-average human abilities in imagined worlds. In design studies, the term ‘myth’ is often critically approached as a problematic ideological construct that should be deconstructed in order to emancipate societies from a false message that has been circulated as truth. This ideological approach to myth has less to do with dragons and mythical creatures, and more to do with the ideological notions and ideas that guide human societies and cultures. Myth acts as a powerful and influential language construct that, through neutralised speech, has the power to guide and inform the actions of these cultures and societies. As a result of the impact that myth has on societies, myth is often seen as a powerful and persuasive construct that should be carefully studied and exposed.
However, this study argues that myth, and especially socio-political myth, can be seen as a constructive force in the reformation of societies and myth should be acknowledged rather than criticised. Furthermore, this study argues that myth is adaptable, and that designers are to some extent responsible for the reformation of myth by acting as agents in the myth-making process. As such, designers who use visual rhetoric to convey myths in their designs have a social responsibility towards the societies affected by their communication. Socially conscious design is one practical application of design where myth can be applied in design outcomes and design processes to act as a constructive tool in societies where positive societal change is needed. One means by which these myths are communicated is through the poster as effective vehicle for mythic communication. Therefore, this study considers posters from the Mandela Poster Project (2013), depicting the myths of Nelson Mandela as case study that exemplifies the constructive potential of myths created by designers and conveyed visually through posters.