Demotivational Posters

Demotivational Posters

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Updated Mar 07, 2014 at 09:45PM EST by James.

Added Jul 07, 2009 at 03:58PM EDT by Will Kimball.

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Demotivational Posters (a.k.a Demotivators) are typically designed to discourage one’s moral strength and diminish one’s self-esteem. It usually consists of a picture, centered and bordered in black, with an all-cap title written in white, and in some cases, a tagline written in smaller font.


Despair Inc. is widely credited as the origin of Demotivational Posters and they began making spoofs of motivational posters (often found in corporate offices) since 1998. You can click here to check out the original collection of Demotivators made by Despair Inc. Over the years, they spread consistently across online discussion boards like 4chan as well as the blogosphere. Today, they’re notable for the insanely large volume in circulation and their off-track varieties/derivatives.

Evolution of Demotivational Posters

In its infancy, Demotivators mirrored popular themes often addressed within motivational posters, by juxtaposing:

1. banal optimism (ex: PERSISTENCE)
2. atmospheric picture (ex: man & woman jogging in a single row)
3. comical pessimism (ex: It’s Over Man. Let Her Go)

But as they became increasingly popular across the web, the joke was no longer bound within corporate/educational themes and became a signature meme involving “crude but funny” comments. Today, the white-on-black format of demotivators is a staple in Internet memescape and it’s fairly common to find demotivational posters sans cynicism.

The originals were typical Motivational Posters with sarcastic comments:

Although a whole genre of Demotivational Posters has been created by showing an instance of FAIL:

How to Make Your Own Demotivational Poster

There are many sites with programs to make Demotivational Posters, including:

Demotivational Posters in Use

A large number of sites feature Demotivational Posters. Some of them are:

Many blog sites contain specific types of Demotivational Posters, such as:


  • CNN (1/17/2004): "Despair sites feature Demotivational PostersInc. Somethe ofbrand themfor are:

[1]Very Demotivational

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Top Comments


Am i the only one who thinks a lot of images uploaded here don’t belong to this meme?

There’s a difference between your regular image joke delivered in Motivational Poster format,
and a Demotivational Poster.
Those are supposed to picture something that suits the caption – usually a good virtue – with a description below that makes the virtue appear like shit.

So the image itself doesn’t need to be funny.
A funny image that would do even without any text usually isn’t a Demotivational Poster, guys.


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