Demotivational Posters, also known as Demotivators, are mock motivational posters 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.
In the early 2000s, custom Demotivational Posters became a popular meme format on the Internet. For example, on September 1st, 2004, the Chamber of Secrets forum user Snape is God posted a thread entitled "Harry Potter Demotivational Posters" (example below).
That year, CNN published an article about the trend. They wrote, "[Despair founder E.L.] Kersten started the business in 1998 with a couple of friends in 1998 and Despair has blossomed into a company with $4 million in annual sales."
Throughout the 2000s, Demotivational Posters appeared on numerous blogs and message and imageboards. On July 18th, 2006, TechRepublic.com published a slide show entitled "Images: Demotivators strike again" (examples below).
On April 27th, 2008, the New York Times published an article about the creator of Demotivators, E.L. Kersten, The Art of Demotivation.
New Wave Demotivational Posters (2019-)
Emoji Demotivationals refers to new wave Demotivational Posters that are captioned with an emoji or emoticon that reflects the content of the main image, such as by being similar to the expression of the person in it. The images are not necessarily bound to the Demotivational Poster format and may simply be captioned with a fitting emoji instead.