5 Project 1b: Poster for social change


Please upload a pdf of your poster with a jpg image to the website and assign the post to Assignment 5.

Bring in your final physical poster on Tuesday. It should be trimmed to exactly 24×36 and be suitable for hanging in the Graphic Design Gallery. I will store the posters in a flat file cabinet until then, so no need to bring it rolled up.

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Y For Thursday: Actual size poster
10/03/2012, 12:03 pm

Design a 24″x36″ poster that promotes a social or political cause. The poster should designed to post in public and timed before the election on November 6. The election may or may not be an important factor in your poster. Imagine your poster also being postable on Facebook or a crowd-sourced website like “Green Patriot Posters.”

Your final poster is due October 11 and will need to be trimmed at 24×36″. The version due Tuesday may fit on an 11×17″ sheet of paper but should be trimmed proportionally to the final (2×3 ratio).


Working from the provided box of green foam peanuts, make a photograph with a caption that acts as a poster for your social cause. Any point can be illustrated with the foam peanuts. This will force you to abandon the obvious and to construct meaning from a fairly meaningless image. Considering framing, point of view, location (background) and other formal concerns. Construct your photograph and upload your image to the website and assign it to the Assignment 3 category. Please use your caption in both the title and as text beneath the image.

Break up into three groups of about 4 people per group. Either pin up your 50 sheets of paper or lay them out on the floor or table. Everyone in the group other than the person pinning up should write words that they associate with the images directly on the paper. These can either be formal attributes: “dark, scary, empty, gross” or concepts: “honest, depressing, surreal”. It may also be helpful to describe the image as either objective, subjective or idiosyncratic (given your classmate’s cause).

The image notation session should lead into a discussion.Consider the following questions during the discussion.

  1. What sort of textual counterpart works with the images chosen?
  2. What is the image maker’s point of view given the image?
  3. Do multiple images together start to create a new meaning?
  4. How can the social cause or approach be refined even more?
  5. Would any of these images work for your own topic? If so, how?

The collector of the images should pick out a few images to discuss with the larger group — either because they were read differently than expected, or because there was a certain enthusiasm around it. Bring some aspect of your small group discussion forward.

Your fellow groupmates should pick 5-10 images apiece from which to design their own “poster” for next week.

The goal of this activity is to more finely tune the way we see and talk about images. Certain images may be powerful or provocative on their own, but do not lend themselves to a textual counterpart. And given the end deliverable, you should also learn to look for the unexpected and consider images outside of the standard content area.

Following the maxim, “it is easier to find than to invent,” spend the next 48 hours collecting 50 images that speak to either (or both) the subject matter you’ve chosen or the style of imagery that you’re interested in. Consider a range of perspectives, tones and voices (subjective/objective/idiosyncratic) in your search, but focus your time and attention in areas that most interest you.

Your images should come from: existing posters/book covers, magazines, your camera, your pencil and the Internet. You may find the juxtaposition of images forms the meaning you are intending. Consider cropping images that do not focus our attention on what we’re supposed to see. Use this assignment as a way to refine your focus. What starts as “women’s rights” may turn into “better pay for women” based on the images and research you find.

Although the focus of this step is not on language, make notes with wording that may be of use to you as you refine your idea. In some cases, your wording may be so good, that you may opt to print it as an image.

Print each image (black and white in most cases is fine) on one side of a letter-sized sheet of paper. Leave some space around the image if possible. We will work with the printouts in class on Thursday.


Design a 24×36″ poster that supports a political or social issue