The Graphic Imperative A Process & Research Book on Advocacy Sally Carmichael
The Graphic Imperative Sally Carmichael Designer As Author VISC 402 Patrick Dooley Fall 2012
- steven heller
â€œAn advocacy poster is the manifestation of a charged social or political idea designed to inform and illuminate, stimulate and inspire, agitate and atack. When finely honed it communicates without ambiguity. â€?
The goal of this project was to create a set of advocacy posters. One of these was to use type and image and the other will use type as image. I was given the freedom to choose the actual advocacy group that would sponsor the message, the specific issue and message of the poster, the targeted audience that the poster seeks to address, and propose the call to action for the specific issue.
essay analysis summary
Heller opens this piece by introducing advocacy posters
Ode to Ink Saturated Paper by Steven Heller
in a very literal way by simply stating that they are nothing more but a “flimsy sheet of ink saturated paper”. He states that whatever one might think about these seemingly simple and small messages, they are a large part of stirring social change and promoting awareness. Referred to as weapons, advocacy posters bring emotion, stimulation, and attention to the surface, and carry much more than a specific call to action. Heller declares that truly well done advocacy posters leave behind a legacy long after they are gone. These posters signify movements, memories, and our own history as they capture moments in time that we can learn from. The first example mentioned are posters generated during the Vietnam war, specifically Lorraine Schneider’s War is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things and photographs by R.L. Haeberle. Both of these carry similar messages through the use of simple yet resonant imagery and statements, bringing the horrors and images of war home to people in the United States. This sudden “real” connection carries an incredibly symbolic weight, which does not require elegance to communicate. Many of the best posters are often the simplest, as beauty and refinement are not always the most striking. Heller states that “cleverness strikes the viewer’s attention” but that it may also achieve a particular balance of visual and expressive qualities. Conversely, some people feel that advocacy posters are becoming less and less effective with the age of technology and multi-media. While these more “modern” methods are cheap and quick, they are also more likely to be overlooked.
The tangible and “in-your-face” aspects of the printed poster are what give it such character and life, something that a digital work does not possess. Whether posters serve as a source of information, resources, inspiration, or motivation, it provides an outlet that we can all connect with.
I felt myself agreeing with Mr. Heller throughout this
Ode to Ink Saturated Paper by Steven Heller
reading. His descriptions alone seemed to energize me about the role that advocacy posters serve. One of his early points, the idea that a poster can serve as a weapon, is a nice metaphor that ties in with one of the main goals of advocacy: a call to action. By thinking of the information gained from these posters as a tool, one is able to more accurately visualize the issue, and potentially spread the message to others. I am one that believes form follows function, and also appreciated Heller’s statement that simplicity, not necessarily beauty, is most effective in many cases, and the ability to achieve both produces an even more interesting result. What I responded to most of all was the notion that the printed word can be more impactful than the digital. As digital becomes the prevailing medium for conveying information, the more “uncommon” form stands out and refuses to be ignored.
Posters are one of the original forms of
Why the Poster in the Internet Age? by Carol A. Wells
communicating to mass amounts of people. From the Protestant Reformation to the Cuban Revolution, these documents serve as a rallying cry for those who want their message heard. The usage of advocacy posters throughout history revolutionized the way that societies communicate their messages, frustrations, struggles, and dreams. In modern society, with advances in technology, it is often wondered if the internet has replaced the need for printed posters. Even posters that are still printed can be muddled and overloaded with material with the aid of ad agencies and designers. The advantage that the Internet possesses is its ability to assemble mass amounts of people in a matter of minutes. With the click of a button, what might have only been seen by a few hundred people in printed form can now be seen instantly by thousands digitally. In the early years of the Internet Although these qualities are appealing, the Internet still has its drawbacks. One problem is that not all people have access to computers or the Internet, especially in poorer areas. They may also not have the skills or means necessary to create a page online supporting a cause, and may not even be found unless sought out for specifically. In general, posters are used much more frequently outside the U.S., as most countries have designated posting spots for this reason and are more
popular. Wells states that as long as the “digital divide” in more impoverished areas continues to exist, the need for printed posters will remain. Posters are used to express alternative viewpoints that some might not even know exist otherwise. As long as social change and expression remains relevant, so will the advocacy poster.
It seems that Carol Wells’ writing is a more in-depth
Why the Poster in the Internet Age?
discussion on one of Steven Heller’s main points. As
by Carol A. Wells
into the digital era, she makes a point to describe both
she discusses the usage of posters and the transition the pros and cons of the digital age. She brings up an interesting point that I had not thought of before, the fact that although the internet is such an extensive tool, it cannot reach those who might need to see your information most of all. Due to limited access to computers in impoverished areas, those who might benefit from new information and awareness are unable to access these outlets of communication. She makes a good argument for the need of the printed poster as well, as I believe one of the oldest forms of mass communication continues to be a successful tool today.
â€œThe poster is the prime field for experimenting with visual language. It is the scene of changing ideas and aesthetics, of cultural, social and political events. â€? - pierre bernard
poster analysis Kyosti Varis Cigarette Cross Finland, 1967 anti-smoking This poster carries such a powerful message on its own that no words seem to be needed. Varis uses the actual problem itself (in this case cigarettes) to illustrate his message. By placing the cigarettes perpendicular to one another, resembling a cross, viewers are confronted with a powerful anti-smoking message with religious and spiritual undertones. This imagery calls for an emotional connection or appeal from its viewers. Even the dark and limited color palette suggests the solemn and seriousness of the issue. By using the cigarettes to make up this symbol, he is being very direct and honest with his audience.
Lex Drewinski Hunger Germany, 1999 poverty & world hunger This is one of my favorite posters on the site. Similar to Kyosti Varisâ€™ poster above, words are not needed to explain the key issue being addressed. The graphic representation of the struggle with poverty and hunger is done beautifully with the two male figures that take up a majority of the space. The contrast between the convex and concave stomachs creates an entry point my eyes immediately jump to and begin to understand the message. This strong graphic imagery could also be interpreted as representing the growing divide between social classes.
Alexander Faldin Anti-Smokers Russia, 1987 anti-smoking\ Alexander Faldin manages to capture, humor, disgust, and awareness simultaneously through this poster. Yet another poster needing to words, the use of burned cigarettes as teeth is extremely effective and symbolic. The humorous, and somewhat ironic aspect of this image comes from the common knowledge that tobacco companies use glamour and sex appeal to market many of their products. As Faldin uses this same angle to criticize and speak out against the tobacco companies, it becomes a very successful campaign. This imagery is also interpreted as just plain gross, and may be thought of as a health result from smoking too many cigarettes. Unknown Artist Ecology Now United States, 1970 environmental rights This more iconic advocacy poster uses familiarity and popular icons to help convey its message. By using the universally recognized American flag and adding a green-tinted twist, the poster takes on a completely new meaning. By altering such a recognizable icon, this successfully draws in much attention, as to understand why the American Flag has been altered in this way. The bold, loud ECOLOGY NOW! announcement that lines the bottom brings the statement full circle, emphasizing the importance of the movement with its urgency. While the message behind this poster is a bit more cryptic, the use of text clearly communicates that this relates to the Earth and â€œgoing greenâ€?.
Unknown Artist With a Mitsubishi Television Set Rainforest Action Network United States, 1993 environmental rights Taking a much different approach from the other posters I have been reviewing, this poster relies solely on typography to get its message across. It is a casual statement to the reader, almost a play-on of wording you might actually find in an ad for Mitsubishi Televisions. If read too quickly, the text might actually need to be re-read to realize this is actually a poster advocating the boycott of the company. This poster’s main angle is education and awareness, as the information is very straightforward in communicating to its audience. The photograph of deforestation helps emphasize this statement, by connecting an image to the campaign viewers can connect with the campaign even more. Woody Pirtle Stop Gun Trafficking Amnesty International United States, 2001 social justice A very basic, and direct message works very well in Woody Pirtle’s Stop Gun Trafficking poster. Reflecting the paths and mazes guns travel through in underground markets, the many directional arrows come together to form a large gun which is noticeable when not up-close. What I appreciate about this poster is that from a glance you can take away the big picture, with the text “Stop Gun Trafficking”, but when a closer look is taken more detailed and clever elements emerge. The subtle use of color with the black and white contrast makes a bold statement and can be seen well from far away.
I chose the advocacy group Friends of the Earth as my organization to concentrate on. They are an international organization with individual groups in countries throughout the world. They target legislation to help improve environmental issues for the earth.
What They Do
Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth, as an outspoken leader in the environmental and progressive communities, seeks to change the perception of the public, media and policy makers—and effect policy change—with hard-hitting, well-reasoned policy analysis and advocacy campaigns that describe what needs to be done, rather than what is seen as politically feasible or politically correct. This hard-hitting advocacy has been the key to their successful campaigns over their 40-year history. Friends of the Earth is part of Friends of the Earth International, the largest grassroots environmental network. Throughout its international branches, it reaches globally to help the environment in as many ways as possible. One way that Friends of the Earth works to achieve a just and healthy world, is by focusing on the economic drivers that are encouraging environmental degradation. Depending on the issue, these drivers may include public investment, granting corporations the right to pollute, or other factors. With key policy expertise at the federal and state levels, Friends of the Earth works to eliminate these drivers and thus bring environmental degradation to a halt. “Friends of the Earth strives for a more healthy and just world. We understand that the challenges facing our planet call for more than half measures, so we push for the reforms that are needed, not merely the ones that are politically easy. Sometimes, this involves speaking uncomfortable truths to power and demanding more than people think is possible. It’s hard work. But the pressures facing our planet and its people are too important for us to compromise.”
Their History Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) was founded in 1971 by four organizations from France, Sweden, England and the USA. Todayâ€™s federation of 76 groups grew from annual meetings of environmentalists from different countries who agreed to campaign together on certain crucial issues, such as nuclear energy and whaling. In 1981, a small International Secretariat was set up, initially staffed by volunteers, which rotated from country to country. By 1983, the organization had grown to 25 members, and an Executive Committee was elected to oversee the issues worked on between meetings. In 1986, the federation had 31 members from all over the world which were fully involved in the environment and development debate, and clearly recognized the need to change lifestyle and consumption patterns in the North. In the meantime, in 1985, the European members of FoEI set up aregional coordinating body of their own, FoE Europe, with an office in Brussels. Among other work, FoE Europe has been responsible for a pioneering program to strengthen the environmental movement in Eastern Europe. There are now 76 Friends of the Earth member groups which are campaigning internationally, nationally and locally to protect the environment and create sustainable societies. They are united by the common conviction that environmentally sustainable development requires both strong grassroots activism and effective national and international campaigning.
In 2008, the combined number of members and supporters of Friends of the Earth groups was more than two million, and the FoEI umbrella united more than 5,000 local activists groups. Together, the 76 FoE groups employed approximately 1,200 staff members. Mission Statement & Main Principals Friends of the Earth defends the environment and champions a healthy and just world.
Sustainability – There will always be more tomorrows. All of us should use the planet’s resources in a way that ensures they will still be available for future generations. Because the environment belongs to all of us (and we to it), we must ensure that natural resources are used in a fair way so that all people can lead healthy, fulfilling lives, and breathe clean air, drink clean water and enjoy a stable climate. Connectivity – The fight to safeguarding the planet and its resources is intrinsically connected to the global struggle for social and economic justice. As long as the powerful continue to pillage the planet, there will be no hope for equality. Systemic change – The world’s problems are too great for tiny fixes around the edges. We cannot afford to allow corporations to continue to profit by destroying the environment. We must hold them accountable for the costs their pollution creates, and we must shift the focus from short-term profits to long-term prosperity.
areas of advocacy Friends of the Earth
Climate and Energy Problem: Biofuel pollution affecting the air, water, and soil Solution: End federal policies that promote biofuels in our climate Action: Write letters to congress, donate to FOE
Food and Technology Problem: Agricultural systems use toxic chemicals to produce our food, threatening health and environment Solution: Keep genetically engineered foods off shelves Action: Conscious consumerism, avoid purchasing at store Oceans Problem: Oceans and the tens of millions of people who live near them are under threat from oil spills Solution: Clean up what is physically possible to help the damage that would be irreversible to the Earth Action: Volunteer and find out how to make a difference Forests Problem: Deforestation affects the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, and releases dangerous amounts of C02 into the atmosphere. Solution: Get governments to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities and the impact deforestation has on the environment Action: Write letters to congress, donate money to FOE Economics for the Earth Problem: Countries are not spending money on important environmental projects for its communities Solution: Reform financial institutions so they work for the public good, not for lucrative reasons Action: Donate money to FOE for universal contributions for environmental projects
Looking Closer I am interested in the focus on forests and deforestation. Within this topic I have pinpointed 5 main problems to look at. Deforestation Issues:
C02 Emissions and climate change
Illegal destruction of crops and land
Rainforests & biodiversity groups are vanishing
Increased need for wood/paper
A young adult, between the ages of 18-30 who is educated and concerned with environmental injustices. This is someone who does not need to be well-versed with issues relating to deforestation, but someone who is interested to learn more and potentially be compelled to take action.
peter, 22 engineering student chicago, illinois
Peter is a college student studying engineering at the University of Chicago in Illinois. He tries his best to be environmentally friendly and has recently become more aware of his own carbon footprint using supplies and resources at school. He listens to almost every genre of music, and enjoys documentary films. He tries to visit Colorado frequently to pursue one of his favorite hobbies, snowboarding.
Friends of the Earth GENERAL IDENTITY Friends of the Earth has a consistent visual identity seen throughout their website and promotional materials. Itâ€™s main color scheme is black, white and green. Within its copy, the organization has a strong voice with a friendly, personal dialect.
Web Presence FOE is very well connected, nationally and globaly. They are active on many social network platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google+ and provide e-mail and phone contacts to get involved.
Simple and effective icon usage and orgazined sections make for easy navigating to learn more about specific areas of advocacy.
â€œThe future of tropical biodiversity depends on understanding the role human consumption plays in altering ecosystemsâ€? - scott a. mori
This poster focuses on the devastation and
destruction of the earth through deforestation. Deforestation leads to a plethora of environmental and social repercussions, and directly effects every citizen of the earth. Forests across the globe are sought out for their trees illegally and are disappearing at an alarming rate. If the current rate of deforestation continues, the worldâ€™s rain forests will vanish within 100 years, causing unknown effects on global climate and eliminating the majority of plant and animal species on the planet. The species extinction rate due to deforestation is 137 species per day, which is 50,000 species a year. By appealing to a college level audience (18-24) this poster will not only help inform and educate individuals, but will make a call to action to become involved with FoE to make a difference.
15. Carvings 16. Waste
Destruction - The action or process of causing so much damage to something that it no longer exists or cannot be repaired Conservation - Preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment, natural ecosystems, vegetation, and wildlife Urgent - Requiring immediate action or attention Desolate - Deserted of people and in a state of bleak and dismal emptiness Death - The end of life; the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism
You Can’t Change the World (But together we can try) Problem: Deforestation of forests releases large amounts of C02 into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change. Solution: Don’t let deforestation continue at these rates. Action: Donate to Friends of the Earth to help stop deforestation. Is it hot in here, or is it just me? Problem: Deforestation is a large contributor to climate change, creating 20% of the world’s c02 emissions each year Solution: Don’t let deforestation continue at these rates. Action: Visit www.foe.com to learn more and donate to help stop deforestation
Deforestation will kill you. Problem: Deforestation is one of the main contributors to climate change and creates 20% of the world’s C02 emissions each year Solution: Prevent these country’s forests from being taken advantage of. Action: Donate to FoE, who are constantly fighting for the forest’s rights We are going to die But our forests don’t have to Problem: For humans, death is inevitable. We can save our forests. Solution: Don’t let our only home go up in flames. Action: Visit www.foe.org to donate find out how you can help prevent deforestation You Can’t Change the World (But together we can try) Problem: Deforestation of forests releases large amounts of C02 into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change. Solution: Don’t let deforestation continue at these rates. Action: Donate to Friends of the Earth to help stop deforestation. Is it hot in here, or is it just me? Problem: Deforestation is a large contributor to climate change, creating 20% of the world’s c02 emissions each year Solution: Don’t let deforestation continue at these rates. Action: Visit www.foe.com to learn more and donate to help stop deforestation
Ctrl + z doesn’t always work Problem: You can’t undo something this big. Solution: But you can try to fix it. Action: Visit www.foe.org to learn more and donate to help stop deforestation It’s never just a tree. Problem: Deforestation leads to the extinction of 137 species a day, 50,000 a year. Solution: Stop deforestation from taking away these animals habitats Action: Visit www.foe.org to learn more and donate to help stop deforestation The Earth can’t give what you take away Problem: Although things are being done to help deforestation, it is not offsetting the rate at which we are losing our forests. Solution: Keep fighting for deforestation rights and educate others. Action: Plant a tree and visit www.foe.org to learn more. Stop killing yourself. Problem: Deforestation is a major component of global warming, which has a direct impact on the life of the human race Solution: Help reverse the effects of deforestation Action: Visit www.foe.org to donate to our cause and help stop the destruction of our planet
We canâ€™t speak for the trees. (but we can fight for them) Problem: Although things are being done to help deforestation, it is not offsetting the rate at which we are losing our forests. Solution: Help reverse the effects of deforestation Action: Visit www.foe.org to donate to our cause and help stop the destruction of our planet Every hour 5 species become extinct. Problem: Deforestation leads to the extinction of 137 species a day, 50,000 a year. Solution: Stop deforestation from taking away these animals habitats Action: Visit www.foe.org to learn more and donate to help stop deforestation.
â€œWe have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends.â€?
- mary bethune
This poster focuses on the devastation and destruction of the earth through deforestation. Deforestation leads to a plethora of environmental and social repercussions, and directly effects every citizen of the earth. Forests across the globe are sought out for their trees illegally and are disappearing at an alarming rate. If the current rate of deforestation continues, the worldâ€™s rain forests will vanish within 100 years, causing unknown effects on global climate and eliminating the majority of plant and animal species on the planet. The species extinction rate due to deforestation is 137 species per day, which is 50,000 species a year. By appealing to a college level audience (18-24) this poster will not only help inform and educate individuals, but will make a call to action to become involved with FoE to make a difference.
class activity 8.21
Project is Introduced The concept of advocacy is studied, reading and essays are assigned.
Review Research After studying advocacy posters, we narrow down topics to specifics, I chose Friends of the Earth.
Report on Research Complete report on chosen organization to class. Begin determining key issues and problems. Explore headlines.
Concept Statement Creation Create concept statement. Share headlines and taglines with class, and refine choices.
Image Based Posters Bring in first round of image based poster ideas as well as type studies, narrow down selection for refinement.
Round Two Bring in second round of image based poster designs. Critique in small groups and individually.
Round Three / Begin Type Based Share a refined third round of image based posters. Bring first round of type based posters to critique.
Final Stages Review best 6 posters, 3 image based and 3 type based. Critique other students posters and as a class.
Final Review Bring in best two posters, semi-final versions printed at full size. Last-minute refinements and feedback.
Project Due Both posters, printed at 22 x 34 turned in and mounted to foamcore.
class notes Animal Print Trees - Good. Explore what leaves might look like. - Apply to other forms of nature Pill Capsule - Okay. Too disconnected. - Make out of leaves? - More natural Headlines are just placed randomly -- integrate them Bean Sprout Type - Make stem cut - Different stages - Alive or dying - Leaves faling - Tendril border Bean Sprout Type - Make stem cut - Different stages - Alive or dying - Leaves falling - Tendril border Paw Print - Add text within leaves? - Adjust placement - Scale - Type
- cut (italic, roman, etc.)
design progression Image Based Concepts - Round One
design progression Image Based Concepts - Round Two
design progression Type Based Concepts - Round One
design progression Type + Image refined concepts
â€œDesign is never truly finishedâ€? - libby levi
Throughout the process of this project I have become increasingly aware of the importace of time. Especially when concentrating on advocacy posters, it was crucial that enough time was alotted for me to fully explore the research, concept, and development of my ideas. I have tried to approach this assignment in a way similar to an advertisement. By focusing on a specified target audience, I did my best to capture a feeling and a call to action that best fit my intended audience. This project has also involved the most research I have done for an assignment of this nature, and I am convinced that it is an essential step in shaping the concept of a direction. Overall I have been very happy with the outcome of my work and think it successfully brings the awareness of deforestation to light.
Published on Sep 13, 2012
I created a set of advocacy posters for the environmental organization Friends of the Earth focusing on deforetsation in rainforests across...