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SHE IS US


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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS

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1.3 MILLION WOMEN AFFECTED BY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE


DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Domestic violence is a serious and unfortunate crime that affects nearly 1.3 million women in the United States each year alone. With this growing and violent crime, it is becoming more important than ever to bring awareness and support around domestic violence abuse. One of the major reasons victims do not leave an abusive relationship is due to an absence of support. With this awareness and support system created, women will know they have the strength to move out from under an abusive relationship and into a better place. I plan to develop an all inclusive organization that is driven through clothing and events to bring

awareness and support to this growing issue. This clothing driven organization will primarily be directed at a young demographic on the precipice of moving into serious relationships, to make the most impact before it is too late. The clothes will be designed not only to show the message, but all of the proceeds of the clothing and events will go towards domestic violence causes both locally and nationally.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CAUSE Domestic violence is a terrible and growing issue across the United States that often gets overlooked because of the silent fear the victims hold. The effects of domestic violence does not only happen physically, but can be very psychological as well (Smith, Malinda, and Jeanne Segal). Astonishingly, one in every four women will experience domestic violence at least once in their life; out of those women, few ever report the abuse to police or other group (Tjaden, Thoennes)(Frieze). Although many may see domestic violence as a crime commonly against strictly women, the effects

of the violence impacts that woman’s family and friends. According to research about 25% of women in abusive relationships encounter their first attack during pregnancy. After that initial attack, 40-60% of the women continue to see the effects of an abusive relationship for the remainder of their pregnancy (AgnewDavies, Howard, Kylee, 49). These women are looking for outlets, they are looking for people and safe havens that will help protect them. With resources already in place for women, what can be done to make them feel more safe to use them? Or more importantly, 7


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what can possibly be done as a preventative measure to stop violence before it begins? These are the questions that arise that drive the reasoning behind this campaign.

However, like with many issues, prevention before correction is always best practice. I plan to develop an inclusive support community of like minded individuals that help spread the idea of prevention of domestic violence before it becomes a violent issue. These methods of passing along information will be done through a number of outlets most importantly, clothing and events. According to a study, females ages twenty to twenty-four are at the highest risk for domestic abuse from a spouse, or someone they know (U.S. Department of Justice). This, accompanied by the idea that prevention before action can go a long way, is the main reason this community will be geared towards a young audience primarily between the ages of eighteen to twenty-five. Females will be the direct audience of the program to show that you do not have to become a victim of abuse and

Creating regulations and various preventative measures around domestic violence is a very tricky and difficult thing. While some methods have proven effective in other countries, many of these methods just prove to be too weak of a program. Rachel Jewkes explains one effective method, at least in Africa and Asian, is a relationship training package: “A review of qualitative evaluations and experiences using the Stepping Stones, a training package to promote sexual and reproductive health in various communities in Africa and Asia, found a reduction in conflict and violence in sexual relationships to be a major impact in all communities studied.� 8


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if you do you can get help. The clothing for this audience can be anything from shirts, sweatshirts, accessories, etc. The clothing will have “in-fashion designs� that also portray the message of the cause. Additionally, as a sub message, all of the clothing will be made of all-natural, organic materials to continue to push an idea of conservation and earth consciousness. The second element of the organization is the events. These events, primarily driven my music, will raise more awareness around the ideas of preventing domestic violence. The first event will happen in late 2011 or early 2012 as a organizational kickoff that will provide music and clothing. By providing engaging events and young clothing with strong messages, we can engage the young community and create future generations to come with little to no domestic violence issues. Although, not all domestic

violence can be prevented. Sometimes life happens and domestic violence cannot be stopped, for this reason proceeds of the clothing produced will go towards causes such as Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence and other worthy causes to help victims become survivors, and survivors become thrivers. I want to help make a difference in the lives of domestic violence victims in the country and across the world. This support group will be the ignition for change and bring new positive light to the issue of domestic violence, no longer will it be a silent issue that is taboo to speak about. No longer will women have to suffer alone in silence. Together a single voice will rise higher than a fist and provide the guidance, love and support to make a big difference in the lives of thousands. 9


WHAT MAKES IT SIGNIFICANT? The significance and personal meaning of this organization is variable from one person to the next. However, regardless of the person, the significance of the project and organization can affect nearly anyone in one way or another. Rather you are a victim yourself, a friend or family member of a victim, or possibly even an abuser, this message influences nearly everyone. (one in four Women will experience domestic abuse at least once in their life). The overall goal of the organizations, regardless of ones connection to domestic abuse is to bring an awareness and message to the cause.

One may question why this message might have so much significance especially with many other organizations and groups with similar messages already existing. That is a simple answer: with so many other domestic violence support systems helping victims of domestic abuse, they are doing little to support the prevention of the cause in the first place. This organization is not designed to solely help those who have been victimized, but rather is designed primarily as a preventative measure. The goal of the group is to bring an awareness to the youth of society 11


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as they enter some more serious relationships. By targeting this particular audience we are doing more than simply trying to create a quick solve of a problem that exists, but rather we are trying to prevent the problem from ever happening in the first place.

are trying to reach? Do the deliverables have an effective enough impact on the audience to make it notable or memorable? My goal is to ultimately answer yes to both questions. The audience I am gearing towards is young females between the age of eighteen and twenty-five. This particular audience is not necessarily reading organization pamphlets or posters, but rather constantly on their phones, surfing the internet, listening to music, or shopping. For this reason the main two deliverables are going to be the clothing and music-driven events. These are designed to be more interesting and more relatable than your typical print material. Another deliverable may include social interaction for victims through an interactive website. This website will help others connect or young couples to find resources to prevent domestic violence. Finally, a relationship kit to be given

Another significant note about the organization is its method of getting the message out. Unfortunately, many social issues can become a taboo topic that have an obvious negative connotation. Along with that negative overtone often comes dry, simple approaches to the solution to try to help the cause. Often you can find simple campaign posters, pamphlets, booklets, and a variety of websites for a cause. Conversely, when dealing with a social issue you must ask yourself two questions about the deliverables you create: are the deliverables appropriate for the particular audience you 12


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free to new couples would be a final, print deliverable. The second question that asks, “Do the deliverables have an effective enough impact on the audience to make it notable or memorable?” is a little bit more difficult to answer. Although the organization will be very relatable because of its particular type of deliverable, an organized street team will also help to get the word out and help relate to the audience better than a “bigger, faceless organization.” This fun, artistic, and ultimately personal approach to the social issue of domestic violence is going to be something very new. It will help change the overall face of abuse from something sterile, taboo, and depressing, to an idea of hope against violence and how women can live happy, prosperous, healthy lives, without the chance of getting harmed or seriously injured by and abusive or threatening partner.

The new organization is not going to change the world, but it will bring a new light and new ideas to the idea of domestic violence. With new, youthful insights and approaches to domestic violence, more awareness will be brought around the issue and more will be done to prevent it before it even happens. As the organization grows, more support will be developed and accomplish our intended goals: women will no longer live in fear to find the help and support they need, and more importantly, enough education will be given to young couples to prevent incidences from ever happening in the first place.

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MY INSPIRATION Being a designer is more than just creating fun and exciting graphics and putting it out in the world. Being a designer comes with much more of a responsibility, a designer must use his or her talent to create design that put significant and meaningful work out in the world. I have always tried to accomplish two goals with all of my work. My first goal with my design is to develop an engaging, creative, and new approach to a problem. The second goal is a little more challenging, and it is to design with purpose for a meaningful and significant cause. Although not all my design will save the world, having purpose and intent behind

my work was an idea greatly influenced from the work of many designers both classical and contemporary. The designers that have had a major influence on my design career and are my primary inspiration behind this project include Saul Bass, Milton Glaser, Bradbury Thompson, Matt Chase, Shepard Fairey, and finally Stefan Sagmeister. Although Saul Bass is greatly known for his high production values in movies, he is also a great inspiration on a design level as well. Born in 1920, Saul Bass did not find his true calling of title design until after a time in the 15


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graphic design field. In the late 1950s, Saul Bass created his famous title sequence for the movie, The Man With the Golden Arm, this movie was one of the first to change the way people saw title sequences. Rather than the traditional method of pulling the curtain after the title sequence, as it had always been done, Bass reinvented the sequence so the design was an important part of the overall movie. This, along with his quote, “Design is thinking made visual,” (Coyier) are two strong inspiration points that are vital to my design (“Saul Bass”). If I can change the way people look at things, and approach it in a new, creative way that gives it greater significance, then I have been successful as a designer. These ideas have a direct relation to my project. Although there are methods and tools out there for victims of domestic violence, they are not effective or they do not have the right story and mission to help women. Janet Carter writes, “It is clear that current U.S.

prevention approaches are not adequate, and in some ways we may be heading in the wrong direction.” My goal is to create the “title sequence” to these programs. I want to get people inspired and empowered to make the right decisions around domestic violence and hopefully promote the later support from these other assisting programs (Carter 8). Another inspirational classic designer that has influenced my work, both in life and in my senior seminar project, is Milton Glaser. I was first introduced to Milton Glaser at a young age through one of his most famous icons, the “I Love New York” logo. This simple logo is beautiful, classic, and portrays the exact message it needs to: the love of New York. It was designed in 1976 as a free logo for New York to use for promotion of tourism to the city. It has boosted a great deal of tourism and love for the logo. In fact, it has become such an icon in society that there have been 16


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nearly 3,000 filed lawsuits about it in regards to copyright infringement. This logo is simple, yet so iconic and has a definitive message behind it. Although the message itself is also simple, the logo does exactly what it needs to. I want my work to be able to be something that is simple and accessible to a degree on every level. Additionally, the fact that Glaser produced this free of charge for the cause is also something interesting (“Love”). Much like all my inspiration, Glaser also influences my direct project. I want my resulting piece for domestic violence to have a simple message and be approached with a simple, impacting design. However, domestic violence is not a simple problem. With facts like more than fifty percent of female murders being caused by male partners, it obvious the severity of the issue. It will be a difficult challenge, but with the inspiration of impacting design like Galser, it is possible to make that difference.

A third classical inspiration for my project and life is Bradbury Thompson. Bradbury Thompson was a traditional graphic designer of the early 20th century that pushed graphic design with vibrant colors overlaying each other, unique printing methods, and fun, creative methods. In fact, Thompson is famous for his colors and typography. Communication Arts magazine once quoted about Thompson: “When it came to the blending of photography, typography and color, nobody did it better than Bradbury Thompson… In his own quiet way, he expanded the boundaries of the printed page and influenced the design of a generation of art directors.” (Sketchbitch). This quote alone truly embodies the ideas of Thompson and his design goals. Even in the case of experiment, fun, and creative designer, there is a relationship to the domestic violence campaign. One of the most noted things in the 17


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research is women do not feel comfortable going to the police or protective agencies. In fact, if women reach out at all, they reach out first to family and friends, the organizations or other professional services, then shelters, and finally government officials. My theory is the personal, positive connection the victim holds with these close and personal friends and family members allow them to ultimately feel comfortable enough to tell them, yet it still rarely occurs. The book How Can Domestic Violence Be Prevented had many good theses on the methods that we as a society can prevent future cases of domestic violence. Once particular article by Catlin Fullwood notes that it is the community and personal outreach programs that can have the biggest impact on how we can help stop this abuse (Fullwood 59). My goal with this project is to combine these two theories. With the positive energy and hopeful ideas to the greater community, they can create a comfortable

relationship with the domestically abused population and give them the opportunity to feel comfortable enough to reach out for help. I will use positive, colorful, and creative methods in design to achieve this goal. Much like how Thompson experimented with the ideas of colors and printing, I will experiment with bringing a serious, upbeat approach to support and a strengthening campaign for domestic violence victims. A more modern designer and illustrator from the current era that brings inspiration and drive to my work is Matt Chase. Although he is not one of the top designers of the nation or anything along those lines, his clean, vintage inspired design is minimalist but says the message quickly and precisely. I am inspired by the vintage clean design and how he approaches his work. Much like Bradbury Thompson, this approach will help bring a positive upbeat message to something that 18


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is quite taboo in modern culture. Additionally, Chase tends to take old designs and ideas and brings them into new light. I am not reinventing the wheel of domestic violence awareness, but rather I am bringing old ideas into new, positive light.

tactics are intended to get in the face of the audience, they are designed to not be subtle or gradual but rather impacting. A big jolt to their emotions, in a positive way, much like the work by Fairey. Additionally, Fairey tends to have a younger, hip style that is relatable to a young audience. The audience feels that Fairey’s work gets them and who they are. Since I have a similar audience for my project, I hope to have the same effect as these pieces and can be as impacting and “youthful” in message as Shepard Fairey.

Shepard Fairey’s street art is his most famous work. Although Fairey typically has a skate inspired, free-form style that isn’t necessarily classified in traditional graphic design, his guerilla tactics can be both inspiring and something that can be used in this project respectively. Anna Kosof writes in her book Battered Women, Living with the Enemy that the reason many women do not or can not leave an abusive relationship is because of the psychological effects the abuse has. These women often feel that the abuse is their fault. In some cases women actually believe that they cannot even go on without the “support” of the man (Kosof 24). For this reason guerilla

Although his work is a little more abstract and experimental in many ways than my own personal work, Stefan Sagmeister would be my third contemporary designer that is both a personal inspiration as well as an project inspiration. Stefan Sagmeister is famous for his year long sabbaticals he takes every seven years. This idea, to refresh the mind so it can 19


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continue to be creative is both revolutionary and simple. In my own practice I hope to have the ability to have such creative bounds to expand my art and pull in my design skills. This methodology is also highly reliable to my domestic violence cause. Women often find themselves in a cycle of hard relationships and rough incidents. In her book titled Violent Partners Linda G. Mills discusses her own personal years of terror in relationship. Mills discusses various relationships since a very young age that she encountered domestic abuse. Abstractly this closely compared to Stefan Sagmeister. In a sense people get caught in situation in which they think there is no way out, no possible method to break out of the painstaking routine and find new inner strength or personal confidence; being either on a design level or abusive. Having the support and power to get out of this dangerous cycle and stand us is the main goal and purpose of this project (Mills 3-20).

I do not want this project to simply exist as a band-aid on a problem. I do not want this problem to be a small school project that I develop out a good idea and leave it to gather dusts. With facts like one in four women experiencing domestic abuse at least once in their life and somebody getting abused by a significant other every 15 seconds, this is a serious problem. It is necessary for a new approach to this issues. It is now necessary for experimental new insights inspired by the power of design and power of will to change the face of domestic violence for good. My project, backed by the inspiration and will of these and many great designer before me, will impact the face of domestic violence. My goal is to make the difference that will spark a drive and will to change.

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INSPIRATION SOURCES Carter, Janet. “Increased Efforts Must Be Made to Prevent Domestic Violence.” How Can Domestic Violence be Prevented. Thomson Gale. Greehaven Press. Farmington Hills, MI. 2006.

Kosof, Anna. Battered Women: Living with the Enemy. Publishd by Franklin Watt. 1994. Mills, Linda G. Violent Partners: A Breakthrough Plan for Ending the Cycle of Abuse. Published by Basic Books. New York, NY. 2008.

Coyier, Chris. “Quotes on Design.” Quotes on Design. 2011. 8 October 2011. http://www.library.cornell.edu/ resrch/citmanage/mla

“Saul Bass.” Design Museum. 2006. 7 October 2011. http://designmuseum.org/design/saul-bass Fullwood, Fatlin P. “Community Involvement Helps Prevent Domestic Violence. How Can Domestic Violence be Prevented. Thomson Gale Greehaven Press. Farmington Hills, MI. 2006.

Sketchbitch. “Bradbury Thompson.” Sketchbitch’s Blog. January 8, 2011. 11 October 2011. http://pr0cr4stin4te. wordpress.com/2009/01/08/bradbury-thompson/

“I Love New York.” Logo Deign Love. September 18, 2011. 8 October 2011. http://www.logodesignlove.com/ilove-new-york-logo 21


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MY PLAN OF ACTION Since the overall message of my project is rather in depth and has a number of different levels that it will reach its overall intended audience, my process will run a little differently than other campaigns. The first part of the campaign will roll out as a series of awareness posters and pieces. This is the portion of the campaign that will be very guerilla in nature. Much as my research has revealed, the most prominent audience that I will try to reach is women, and in particular college students. For this reason, my first guerilla campaign will focus on college campuses in the area as well as places where

young women and men alike hang out. Some of these places may include gyms, coffee shops, libraries, malls, etc. The materials for the first part of the project will be posters, print statistics, found materials, etc. Along with the first portion of this campaign, there will also be an initial website. This website will not necessarily be the fully developed one, but rather a teaser for what is to come. This website will display facts about domestic violence, give ability to share information to social networks, and have teaser information about the clothing line. The major drive behind 23


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the first portion of this project is to build suspense for the resulting second part of the campaign. The second part of the campaign is the development of the community against domestic violence. These people will ultimately become the voice of the cause and share their passion. The main drive for the second part is to create the socially aware clothing line. This line will include t-shirts, sweatshirts, accessories, etc. that will not only carry some reference to domestic violence, but also the proceeds collected will go towards programs like Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The other part of this section is the music shows and events. This is designed to bring people who have like-minded beliefs together for a strong cause in an entertaining and positive atmosphere.

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LIMITATIONS AND THE FUTURE My obvious limitation is the expansiveness of the project. I want to develop this group into a fully-functional change in the way society looks at and prevents future domestic violence incidents. For that reason, only the first half of the campaign will roll out by the end of the 2011 year. Posters and other guerilla material will be produced and the teaser website will be developed in this section. The second half of the campaign will also be addressed but will not fully roll out until the beginning of the 2012 year. This is when the community focused events will occur

including the music shows and the domestic violence focused clothing line. Along with these events will be the continued growth of the social apects as well as the overall community involvement. To keep in touch with the changing occurrences in the project and upcoming events, follow the @sheisus twitter page or visit sheisus.org

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