Demotivational posters are a parody of motivational posters, created with the aim of disheartening their readers, and diminish their interests.
Their format is usually similar; with a photo or a picture in the center, surrounded by a black frame, containing a bigger title and a smaller font slogan.
“Demotivational posters” were created with the intention of parodying motivational posters, often seen in the offices of major corporations.
Despair Inc. is widely accredited with creating the first “demotivational posters” back in 1998, when the format started surfacing on the internet.
The company was launched by E.L. Kersten and a few of his friends and Despair Inc. grew to become a business with large annual incomes.
During the 2000’s, the format of “demotivational posters” became a popular meme format, with users creating their own custom posters and uploading them to forums, blogs, message- and imageboards.
In 2004, CNN published an article about Despair Inc. presenting the unlikely success of the humorous company.