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Shannon McGill • Fall 2012 • Patrick Dooley

ADVOCATE

Designer as Author • Advocacy Posters

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The Graphic Imperative As social issues change and evolve, the advocacy poster has remained a strong standard in raising awareness and calling people to action. For our posters, we began by researching advocacy posters in general and studying the form of each artist’s message. From there, we focused on a particular issue, and delved into the issue by focusing on a particular organization that is advocating for it actively. With informed minds, we turned our attention to conveying these issues visually in the form of posters. Through multiple rounds of iterations, we were able to refine our poster sketches by always focusing on the message first.

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WRITTEN ANALAYSES

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The Modern Advocacy Poster Why and How it is Effective

Impact Heller

“Ode to Ink Saturated Paper” Posters themselves will not fix global or national problems, Heller argues, but they can do something. They create an impact. Posters are not the problem solvers, but they have the strong capability to motivate and inspire people. Posters can ignite a spark in an otherwise lethargic citizen. Maybe more important, though, is an advocacy poster’s purpose of translating a confusing and ambiguous issue. When a social, political, etc. issue becomes popular knowledge, the understanding of the issue itself almost immediately becomes bogged down by misinformation, biased statements and assumptions. Our goal is to make it legible and accessible for a concerned individual who may have no idea where to begin. Heller also calls to mind the issue of time. A poster is real and tangible, and we can’t just click to another page. Inherently, people seem to have a stronger reaction because of this. However, even with print, we have but moments to catch a reader’s attention and convince them to read onward. Heller tells us to do far more. With care and purpose, we can create a lasting impression with one sheet of paper. We can tell a story that resonates not just now, but into the future. I have experienced first hand how provoking an advocacy poster can be, but I think that a distinction must be made. There is a difference between igniting an emotional response and informing. As designers, I feel it’s our duty to not betray the trust of a viewer. It is not our job to cheaply appeal to a viewer’s intellectual vulnerabilities. It’s our job to give them the facts; persuade them, yes, but educate them also. The greatest point that I read though, was that at times, to be successful, we must learn to set aside beauty, as sometimes the truest things are raw and unabashed. I feel this often with pieces, when content is overlooked for the sake of creating a beautiful, finished product.

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Function Wells

Then the question of “Why the Poster in the Internet Age?” Carol Wells focuses in on the internet versus poster debate and weighs in heavily in favor of posters. She begins by informing us of the tumult of political unrest over the past century and how intricately woven political graphics are in that history. At times, posters were nearly invisible and rarely viewed, while at other times, they pushed a revolution forward. However, posters are not just a part of history, Wells points out; they are a way of telling a history, an otherwise untold history. She argues that history is rarely told on a grassroots level and that history from the perspective of protesters is mostly nonexistent. There were, however, some valid points about the benefits of electronic distribution. The Internet and email allow for a broader reach, and also give people the capability of printing and distributing hard copy posters. The Web, then, at times, is simply the vehicle for creating more posters. In the end, she points out the most basic problem with technological communication: much of the global population, both abroad and locally, is without regular or any computer access. As long as this gap exists, posters will continue to prevail. Posters are simply cheaper, easier, and more accessible. ... One point that neither of these essayists mentioned, though, was the importance of understanding your audience and being able to appeal to different people. Not only should a poster speak to those who are unaware of an issue, it needs to break through the assumptions of those in opposition. We certainly should “yell” our opinions that need to be heard, but we must keep in mind who we’re yelling to. It is important to create a message that people in agreement can relate to; it is far more important to create a message that makes opposers stop and think.

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Guilt In this poster, type functions both in a conventional way and as texture. It is conventional in that it is laid out linearly as the headline, and it takes the form of a formal dictionary entry. The loaded words, however, are strewn across the body of the guiltridden individual as a filthy layer of guilt. The headline, though strong and loaded with emotion from the get go, does not explicitly tell the issue. However, because of the strong connotations of the word “guilt,” the reader is com-

Joe Scorsone Alice Drueding Environment

pelled to look on, and is rewarded quickly with hints and an answer. This may make the poster even more successful, as it challenges the reader to make connections and solve the puzzle.

We’ll Never Forget Wounded This poster uses only image to convey the story of the Native Americans who were killed in a massacre by U.S. Military. He takes two iconic images, one of a Native American and one of the American flag, and overlaps them, showing a distinct hierarchy of power and the oppression of U.S. forces. The message is simple and effective. Thempfander left out color, allowing for the connection of a prison to be quickly made. The flag is recognizeable in any color.

Christer Themptander

The lack of color also spotlights the bleakness of this opression, and it burns this image distinctly in our minds.

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Black Power, White Power The type is set in a sort of prehistoric form, which reflects the style of the image. The artist plays off of our concept of a barbaric prehistory, showing us our very own barbarism in present day. The type reflects back at each other, once again mimicking the image. Both together show the senselessness of the race power struggle. The efforts of both sides are cruel and fruitless.

Tomi Ungerer Human Rights

This poster is especially effective in that it calls out both sides of the conflict. Without crowning a victor, both sides are forced to question their actions and what they’re really accomplishing.

Anmesty International Sommese creates a poster using a two-tone image, while type simply serves as a label of the organization. By placing the text so subtly, the image becomes less an ad and more a platform to tell the story of suffering. As viewers, we feel the strain and struggle of those grasping hands. The knotted lines of the barbed wire fence feel binding and nearly impossible to break from.

Lanny Sommese Human Rights

The most effective part, though, is the glimmer of hope in this message. Though the simple addition of a lighter tone shining through the grasping fingertips, the struggle doesn’t feel so hopeless. 7


Images of Labor The headline typeface on this poster evokes the feeling of a novel, a story waiting to be told. At the bottom of the page, the quote “It is true indeed, that they can execute the body, but they cannot execute the idea which is bound to live,” directs our attention to a particular idea. The text color matches the image, using pink to portray a softness and, conversely, the burn of raw bound skin. The two main combined images, bound hands and a dove, show that hope

Milton Glaser Human Rights

can come from struggle. The text and image, together, tell us of both the limitations of the body and the ability of the human mind to transcend physical opression.

Love Liberty Text and color are the main elements to this piece. The colors are immediately recognizeable as our country’s flag, even though the lines are in disarray. The haphazard arrangement of stripes hints at the disarray of both the country and the speaker’s sense of national pride. The style is not overly polished–imperfect lines and alignment make the piece relatable and real. The voice is not condescending nor weak. She states simply her frustration. The statement feels so intutive and relatable.

Corita Kent

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GENERAL FOCUS : Health

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The American Association for Health Education (AAHE) Why and How it is Effective

OVERVIEW Mission

Mission

Everyone deserves their health. At least, that’s what the AAHE, or American Association of Health Education actively fights for. “The mission of the American Association for Health Education (AAHE) is to advance the profession by serving health educators and others who strive to promote the health of all people through education and other systematic strategies.” AAHE as a whole is part of a collective called the American Alliance for Heatlh, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. They’ve been around and promoting healthy lifestyles for over 125 years. Their mission, as a whole, is to promote and support leadership, research, education, and best practices in the professions that support creative, healthy, and active lifestyles. Now, more than ever, is it important to stay educated on the health care system.

ADVOCACY ISSUES (ONE) Health literacy is a global problem, even in developed countries. AAHE defines it HEALTH LITERACY as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” This problem is inefficient both for individuals and the healthcare system. Around 60 billion dollars excess is spent by the US Healthcare system every year due to health illiteracy. The problems felt by individuals can occur and increase throughout their lifetime. “Inadequate health literacy contributes to poor compliance, uncontrolled chronic disease, and rising health care costs” (Safeer) This problem affects individuals in every age group. Often, it comes down to reading comprehension. “Even though most adults read at an eighth-grade level, and 20 percent of the population reads at or below a fifth-grade level, most health care materials are written at a 10th-grade reading level” (Safeer). Because of education disparities, most adults cannot even comprehend what literature they are given and are forced to make uninformed decisions. 10


Older adults are even more unable to navigate the system. “Older patients are particularly affected because their reading and comprehension abilities are influenced by their cognition and their vision and hearing status.” In the end though, every age group is at risk in some way. The root causes of health illiteracy also include lack of knowledge on health topics, misinformation, etc. Many people, because of this, are unable to see the connections between their basic lifestyle decisions and health problems.

SOLUTION

To combat this growing problem, health literacy is integrated throughout the National Health Education Standards. The National Health Education Standards improve student learning across the nation by providing a foundation for curriculum development, instruction, and assessment of student performance. National Health Education Standards provide a guide for enhancing preparation and continuing education of teachers.

(TWO) HUMAN RIGHTS REAFFIRMATION

“In response to atrocities committed during World War II, Member States of the United Nations signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December 1948 under the leadership of Eleanor Roosevelt. This living Declaration recognizes that everyone is born with equal and inalienable rights and fundamental freedoms. Among these freedoms are unfettered speech, and a life without domination, fear of harm or want. Such freedoms may not be revoked for the convenience of others.” The AAHE acknowledge that the violation of these rights still occurs today, on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, education, language, disability, religion, politics or philosophy. Because of this, a person’s chance at a successful and happy life is taken from them.

SOLUTION

(THREE) SCHOOL HEALTH SERVICES

The AAHE’s mission, though, is in direct correlation with these beliefs, as happiness contributes to a healthy life. Anticipating the 65 th Anniversary of UDHR, AAHE encourages U.N. Member States and all people to renew pledges to and promote the Articles, and act toward one another in the spirit of brotherhood, in particular Articles 25 and 26.

Arguably, children are the most important focus for health education, as we should begin formal and organized education at the start of a life. AAHE argues that in order for school health services to function effectively as a unit, it should incorporate professional personnel and necessary human and material resources; it should be based on written policies consistent with specific responsibilities of each member of the health team; and it should be the shared responsibility of both the school and the community. 11


SOLUTION

(FOUR) COORDINATED SCHOOL HEALTH PROGRAMS

To do so, we must regulate school health programs. School health services should include the following programs: Health appraisal, emergency care, communicable disease prevention and control, in-school management, and health of the staff itself.

Coordinated school health programs prepare students for a lifetime of healthy choices. They teach students knowledge and skills for lifetime physical activity, healthy eating, and a tobacco-free lifestyle through health education and physical education courses. They provide students with opportunities to practice healthy behaviors in school meal programs and after-school activities. Health messages are reinforced by health and counseling services, parent and community involvement, staff who have participated in health promotion services, and the school’s physical and social environment. Rigorous studies have proved that specific, directed school health problems can directly decrease the prevalence of health risk behaviors among kids, including smoking, drugs, and obesity.

SOLUTION

Schools should not be expected to solve youth health problems on there own. But they can do their part to help, but incorporating eight components:

(FIVE) CERTIFICATION OF HEALTH EDUCATORS

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Health education Physical education Health services Counseling and psychological services Nutrition services Health promotion for staff Healthy school environment Family and community involvement

Health Education, and specifically school health education, is a fundamental and indispensable component of health promotion in the United States. School health education is a unique discipline that is complex, and requires specialized skills in sensitive areas. Therefore, “all persons who are responsible for teaching health education at the middle and high school levels or higher should be required by State Departments of Education to have a separate certification in Health Education.”


SOLUTION

DEMOGRAPHIC

TED’S STORY

Schools should require teachers to be formally educated on the topic of health education. Furthermore, the communities should request and demand this of their school boards, and show that it is a priority.

My focus will be on middle aged men. I will target men specifically with a lower level of education, having graduated from high school but unable to afford going further. These men, because of a lack of adequate health education at a younger age, have been increasingly unable to make reasonable health decisions.

Ted is a construction worker. Growing up in western Tennessee, he learned the only basics of every subject. Unfortunately, his rural school was unable to afford a fully qualified teaching staff. Though they did the best they could, the students continued on with an insufficient understanding of the world around them. At the age of 14, Ted took on his first construction job to help pay his family’s bills. Exhausted from late nights, he was unable to stay focused and awake during class, and his grades slipped because of it. His teachers saw his promise and his fascination with science and research, but his education was forced to end at high school graduation. Now, with a family of four children to provide for, Ted and his wife have both taken on two full time jobs to make ends meet. They’re both incredibly hard workers, and Ted especially values the work he can accomplish with his own two hands. Ted loves movies like Into the Wild and Rudy, where people have the passion and drive to change their lives uniquely. Ted and his wife love old blues and bluegrass music, and every few weeks when the sitter can come, they sneak away and go dancing.

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SOURCES

1.

http://www.aahperd.org/about/

2.

Health Literacy: The Gap Between Physicians and Patients

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RICHARD S. SAFEER, M.D., CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Baltimore, Maryland

JANN KEENAN, ED.S., The Keenan Group, Inc., Ellicott City, Maryland

United Nations Department of Public Information. Universal Declaration of Human Rights Dignity and Justice for All of Us. Available at:

4.

http://www.un.org/events/humanrights/udhr60/hrphotos/declaration%20_eng.pdf.

The Foundation of International Human Rights Law. Available at: http://www.un.org/events/humanrights/2008/ihrl.shtml. Accessed 19 February 2012.

5.

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Preventing Chronic Diseases: Investing Wisely in Health The Critical Role of School Health Programs. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/publications/factsheets/Prevention/pdf/schoolhealth.pdf


VISUAL AUDIT

In lieu of my findings during research, I decide to switch from AAHE to the American Medical Association. The AMA is actually taking action.

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Specific Problem :

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Health Literacy In our first world, people struggle daily to get quality healthcare. The main cause: lack of patient health literacy. Health literacy is defined as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. This problem stems both from lack of patient education and poor physician communication.

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MOOD BOARD

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KEY WORDS

system Education literacy health literacy confusion communication capacity information inefficient counter-productive

disparities uninformed decisions misinformation function effective standards coordinated responsibility advocate

promotion initiative simpler sense care learn equal successful process cognitive

SYSTEM

an assemblage or combination of things or parts forming a complex or unitary whole

LITERACY

a person’s knowledge of a particular subject or field

COMMUNICATION

the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.

COORDINATED

harmonious combination or interaction, as of functions or parts

DISPARITIES

inequality or difference, as in age, rank, wages

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Is the system getting you down? Around 60 billion dollars excess is spent by the US Healthcare system every year due to health illiteracy. Help improve the system by educating yourself at ama.com

Don’t let the system get you down. Even though most adults read at an eighth-grade level, and 20 percent of the population reads at or below a fifth-grade level, most health care materials are written at a 10th-grade reading level.

Break the cycle. Start with yourself. Get educated at ama.com.

What we have here is a failure to communicate. Even though most adults read at an eighth-grade level, and 20 percent of the population reads at or below a fifth-grade level, most health care materials are written at a 10th-grade reading level.

Start the conversation. Find materials to get educated at ama.com.

Maybe it’s just bad education. Even though most adults read at an eighth-grade level, and 20 percent of the population reads at or below a fifth-grade level, most health care materials are written at a 10th-grade reading level.

Become part of the movement

Healthcare isn’t rocket science. Most patients hide their confusion about health procedures from their doctors because they are too ashamed and intimidated to ask for help. Become part of the movement to bridge the gap between physicians and you. ama.com

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Healthcare doesn’t have to be rocketscience Even though most adults read at an eighth-grade level, and 20 percent of the population reads at or below a fifth-grade level, most health care materials are written at a 10th-grade reading level.

Help improve the system by educating yourself at ama.com

It starts with a talk. Most patients hide their confusion about health procedures from their doctors because they are too ashamed and intimidated to ask for help. Take the initiative. Start the conversation. ama.com

Isn’t it nice when things make sense? Even though most adults read at an eighth-grade level, and 20 percent of the population reads at or below a fifth-grade level, most health care materials are written at a 10th-grade reading level.

Get some clarity in your health. ama.com

You’ve got nothing to hide. Most patients hide their confusion about health procedures from their doctors because they are too ashamed and intimidated to ask for help. Start the conversation. ama.com

Navigating unfamiliar territory. The 2003 National Assessment of Health Literacy in Adults reported that over 75 million adults had below basic or basic health literacy. That makes your own bod seem pretty foreign.

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VISUALS Focus on : Communication

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SKETCHES ROUND 1

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YES Refine to look like a medical textbook. Add photos. Use more effective font.

NO

NO

NO

YES Begin own sketches. Integrate text within the sketches.

YES But does talk more to the physician. Could be scary to patients. Begin own sketches. Integrate text within the sketches.


NO Overdone.

YES Create a more dynamic layout. Add color.

YES Incorporate this text book feel into the “proofread” poster.

NO Intestines look gross.

MAYBE Looks like a sexuality issue. Try covering the person’s eyes.

MAYBE Incrporate diagram feel into refinements.

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SKETCHES ROUND 2

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NO Too mish mashed with no real direction

NO

MAYBE Make things a bit more cohesive

MAYBE Show more of a conversation. An interaction between physician/ patient.w


YES Could be any issue though. Incorporate medical instruments. Also add in something about “we’re listening.”

YES This is showing good commusication. Try to show more of a disconnect

MAYBE Show more of a conversation. An interaction between physician/ patient.w

NO Good in concept, but not aesthetically.

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SKETCHES ROUND 3

MAYBE Very intense showing vital signs. Conjures up panicked feelings.

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YES Refine the connection. Try incorporating a stethescope. Make the placement more dynamic.

YES Incorporate more of a medical feel.


MAYBE The instruments become cluttered. Make each icon more precise and meaningful. Align things with the ear.

MAYBE The instruments become cluttered here also. Emphasize the stethescope. Use stethescope as a symbol of communication.

MAYBE The instruments become cluttered. Make each icon more precise and meaningful. Align things with the ear.

MAYBE The instruments become cluttered here also. Emphasize the stethescope. Use stethescope as a symbol of communication.

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SKETCHES ROUND 4

NO Friendliness is not present. Frontal stance is intimidating. Also the info text is boring and static.

NO Imagery is fine, but not dynamic.

YES Go back to previous sketches. Explore the listening ear poster. Explore the body part sketches. Really emphasize communication disconnect. 30


YES Widen the ear piece and place the text within there. Iluustrate the information text more. Clean up the lines between script. Take out the metal texture in the background. Remove the bottom bar.

NO Not as dynamic and effective as the stethescope.

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SKETCHES Refinements

FINAL

YES

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Layout / Style Variations

They all still need more order to be brought. Make a distinction between the confusion of the system and the clear direct information that I am imparting.

Color Variations

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Most patients hide their confusion about health procedures from their doctors, because they are too ashamed and intimidated to ask for help.

Only you know your body. Open up and start talking. Visit ama-assn.org for more.

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IS YOUR BODY LOOKING A LITTLE FOREIGN ? NOT SURPRISING. Most health care materials are written above the national average literacy level.

START THE TALK. See your healthcare physician and bridge the gap.

VISIT AMA-ASSN.ORG for more information and materials to educate yourself.

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CONCEPT STATEMENT In our first world, people struggle daily to get quality healthcare. The main cause: lack of patient health literacy. Health literacy is defined as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. This problem stems both from lack of patient education and poor physician communication. With the help of the American Medical Association, it’s up to both patients and physicians to education themselves on how to communicate.

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REFLECTION This project was a bit of a struggle for me, but in a very beneficial way. I have always been very conceptually focused. My philosophy has always been to focus on the message first and gather as much information as possible. I think I’m one of the few people who thoroughly enjoyed the paper component of this process. However, my struggle has always lied in the refining process–making a design look finished and tuned. This project challenged me to do both of those simultaneously, and to be very intentional about every piece of it. Even when I understood my issue clearly, conveying it with every detail was difficult. Looking back, I wish I would have gotten to a stronger visual level sooner. That will definitely be a focus for me in the next project. As a health major, I also appreciated this project in helping me learn more about the issues that are going on in my future field. My personal focus was interesting, in that it was raising awareness about an issue that I, too, face. In the process of educating myself, I was able to apply my own confusion and frustration to the message of my posters. Admittedly, I still feel very much in the dark about the health care system and what should be done. If anything, though, that struggle drives me further to advocate for this communication disconnect and work towards finding a solution.

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