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Jonathan Heter | Process Book Designer as Author | VISC 402 | Fall 2013 | Patrick Dooley


The Graphic Imperative: Project 1 Our first project of the semester will be to create a pair of advocacy posters. Possible themes for the project include dissent, liberation, racism, sexism, human rights, civil rights, environmental and health concerns, AIDS, war, literacy, and tolerance. Among our research resources is an on-line exhibition, The Graphic Imperative: International Posters for Peace, Social Justice, and the Environment, 19652005 (www.thegraphicimperative.org). The Graphic Imperative is a select retrospective of forty years of international sociopolitical posters. The 111 posters in this exhibition emphasize the issues of

our turbulent times and endeavor to show the social, political, and aesthetic concerns of many cultures and divergent political realities. Of the pair of advocacy posters that you design, one will use type and image and the other, type as image. You will be able to chose: 1) the actual advocacy group that would sponsor the message 2) the specific issue/message of the poster 3) the targeted audience that the poster seeks to address and 4) propose the remedy or action for the specific issue/problem.


“An advocacy poster is the manifestation of a charged social or political idea designed to inform and illuminate, stimulate and inspire, agitate and attack. When finely honed it communicates without ambiguity. When smartly conceived it imparts meaning through complexity and simplification. When on target – when message and image, form and function are one – it shoots a charge into the brain that pierces the conscious and subconscious triggering action, now or later”


The Graphic Imperative: A Synopsis In his essay, “Ode to Ink Saturated Paper,” Steven Heller argues that the advocacy poster has long been an important tool for those attempting to express ideas and information in a way that invokes action from a broad audience. The posters often focus around a social or political ideology, and strive to make the viewer question how they feel about a specific issue. Of advocacy posters, Heller writes: “When on target–when message and image, form and function are one–it shoots a charge into the brain that pierces the conscious and subconscious triggering action, now or later.” Creating a powerful poster, is of course, not an easy task. As Heller says, a poster that is over-designed, or attempts to be too clever, can “trivialize the message.” It is then important to find the correct balance for the particular issue at hand. When done right, the advocacy poster could potentially influence many,

and start conversations that previously weren’t being had; done wrong, and the poster will likely be ignored. Lastly, Heller discusses the importance of the physical poster. He argues that seeing a poster, for example, stapled to a telephone pole creates a more visceral reaction than viewing a jpeg file of a poster that a co-worker emailed you last week. His theory holds true for myself, and I would argue it is why books are still printed, despite everyone having a device in their pocket that can hold thousands of them. We get a different feeling, and react in a different way, to tangible items. Seeing a wall of posters, screen printed and wheat-pasted against the side of a building tells me that whatever the poster says, it meant enough to someone for them to spend all that time making and displaying the poster. Money, sweat and emotion was put into those posters, and that


strikes a chord of curiosity within me, that the same poster, viewed online, likely would not. The advocacy poster, throughout history, has been used both for and against specific causes. A government propaganda poster may question ones patriotism, and suggest them to enlist, or buy war bonds, while an anti-war poster made by a peace-activist, may be used to show the true brutality of war. Regardless of the posters agenda, “a good poster can be worth much more than the paper it is printed on.” Conversely, In The Graphic Imperative’s second essay, “Why the Poster in the Internet Age?,” Carol A. Wells argues the digital poster can reach such an “unimaginably larger” audience than the printed poster, and that it’s importance cannot be understated. Carol is correct, in that the advent of the internet has made it possible for people all over the world to communicate in real time. Revolutions are now tweeted, as

they happen, on twitter, and a poster like the one Shepard Fairey made for Barack Obama and his “HOPE” campaign, can be passed around and printed freely by his supporters. So while I still feel a greater connection to the physical advocacy poster, from the aforementioned telephone pole, clearly the internet is an important tool in distributing information, especially when the issue is one of global proportions.


/1 We’ll Never Forget Wounded Knee Sweden, 1971 By Christer Themptander

/2 INFANTry United Kingdom, 2001 By Andy Mosley, Harry Pearce

/3 Victory China, 1998 By Fang Chen

/4 Happy Earthday Japan, 1982 By Fukuda Shigeo

/5 Little Boy Germany, 1995 By Uwe, Loesch

/6 Penis Cop USA, 1993 By Art Chantry


The Graphic Imperative: Poster Analysis /1 “We’ll Never Forget Wounded Knee”

/3 “Victory”

This poster is “a visual tribute created in solidarity with the cause of the Native Americans who were massacred by the U.S. military at Wounded Knee, Pine Ridge, South Dakota on December 29, 1890.” The artist has overlaid the American flag on top of a Native American Chief, and the stripes act as prison bars-a metaphor for the way the Natives were essentially “jailed” on their own land. Although a relatively simple idea, the poster works very well, and the concept comes across right away-a good attribute for an advocacy poster.

“Three fingers are missing from the hand to extend the feeling of victimizing in the image. I have always believed that a good designer should be able to express complicated and profound meanings in a simple way and a good poster should make people think.” Upon first glance of this advocacy poster, the viewer would probably just see the peace sign, being displayed. They would then notice the other 3 fingers have been blown off, presumably in a war related accident, creating a powerful case for peace without so much as a word on the page. While I don’t think it is necessary, and would probably just take away from the power of the poster, it would be interesting to see a clever headline-perhaps in bold, to really drive the point home.

/2 “INFANTry “The infantry in an army are the most vulnerable; so are children. The idea of children as infantry is unthinkable.” The word play of Mosley and Pearce’s poster is what makes this poster so successful. The word “INFANT” in white, followed by the remaining “RY” in black, of the word INFANTRY, immediately makes the viewer think of babies, and small children. It then becomes apparent that these children never really had a choice, and were forced into this horrible lifestyle, presumably, from birth.

/4 “Happy Earth Day” Clever design like this is always captivating and powerful when done correctly. Here, we see an axe, which is generally associated with deforestation, however the wooden handle has sprouted a leaf, symbolizing life. The text for “Happy Earth Day” at the bottom, makes the poster’s intentions clear. My


only problem, is the green type. Set against the red background, it is difficult to read, and the placement and font choice, I feel, could be worked on to add to the poster’s visual appeal.

/5 “Little Boy” Although the poster doesn’t seem to explicitly state what it is made for, those familiar with the atomic bombs of WWII would understand the significance. “This poster commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. The atomic bomb was named “little boy.” “The image of the little boy in the poster represents mankind. Victim and perpetrator are identical. The connection between the headline and the image follows the phenomena of the cognitive dissonance in the communication process.”

/6 “Penis Cop” This was one of the few advocacy posters in the Graphic Imperative’s collection that had a sense of humor to it. Made in 1993, the poster draws influence from the old “warning” posters of the 40s-50s. “This poster was designed to speak directly and in a humorous fashion to the gay community to advo-

cate condom use. It was created in Seattle for the local department of social and health services but was soon distributed nationally.” For a topic that some groups would have considered “inappropriate,” sometimes the best way to discuss a “taboo” topic is to use humor to lighten the mood. This poster’s designer managed to do that with great success, which would have made it easier to open up discussions to deeper issues.


/Advocacy Group Research Paper /ISSUE: Anti-Puppy Mills /ORGANIZATION: ASPCA


/The Organization

/Areas of Advocacy

ASPCA Mission Statement: To provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. We believe that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans, and must be protected under the law. Learn more about our history, mission, and what we do to help animals nationwide.

Anti-Puppy Mills: Puppy mills are “Large-scale commercial dog breeding operations where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs.” Often, these puppies will be sold to pet stores, with falsified lineage records.

The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1866, and was the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere. Their mission is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.” The ASPCA is also the nations leading humane organization in “three key areas: Caring for pet parents and pets, providing positive outcomes for at-risk animals and serving victims of animal cruelty.”

Problems: /Because of the large-size of the puppy mill operations, the dogs will often fall ill with a myriad of diseases or infirmities, as well as congenital and hereditary conditions. /Lack of socialization often leads to behavioral issues /Overcrowded, unsanitary living conditions /Breeding dogs may spend their entire lives in small cages, exposed to the elements outside /Females are bred so frequently, they often have little to no recovery time, which can lead to malnourishment in both the mother and her pups.


Solutions: /Pledge that you’ll never shop at a store that sells puppies (as they nearly always come from puppy mills). /Do your research: if you want a purebred dog with papers, go to the breeder and make sure there isn’t a mill situation /Adopt from an animal shelter: When the pet stores stop selling puppy mill dogs at high prices, their profit margin will dramatically decrease until eventually, the puppy mill will not be called upon for business. /Donate or volunteer at your local animal shelter

/Target Demographic According to a peer-reviewed article in 1994, a study was done to determine the the demographic that was most active within the animal rights movement. They found that young, non-black minorities, and the less educated, were more likely to support

animal rights; and that income was not a significant predicator. However, I would argue that as our culture has become more and more aware of animal rights in the last nineteen years, that demographic has likely evolved into one less specific. Peta and the all of their celebrity spokespeople, for example, have made it “cool” to a younger generation and commercials from the ASPCA as well as the Humane Society are seen by both men and women of all age ranges, daily. Therefore, for this particular poster, I think focusing on 21-30 year-olds would make the most sense, as those buying their first dog, are the ones who would, in theory, need the information. /Age Range: 21-30 /Gender: Men and Women (potential first-time dog owners) /Educational Level: High School graduate and above /Familiarity with puppy mills: presumably very little, for the posters to be the most informative /Portrait of Target Demographic /Portrait of Target Demographic


/Portrait of Target Demographic


This is Tyler and Pam. Tyler is a 29 year old, male who works as a server at The Olive Garden in Orlando, Florida. His passion is heavy metal guitar, but he loves video games and comic books almost as much. Pam is a 26 year old who recently received her masters degree from the University of Oregon in Biology. Pam loves all animals, and is passionate about helping others. As new homeowners, Tyler and Pam are looking for an addition to their family, but aren’t quite ready for kids. By educating these two about puppy mills, they can avoid supporting mills and instead help out their local shelter.


/ISSUE: Anti-Puppy Mills /ORGANIZATION: ASPCA

Puppy Mill: a large-scale commercial dog breeding

/The Problem

Overcrowding: refers to the situation in which more

Overcrowding in Puppy Mills leads to poor living conditions, which in turn results in health problems, both mental and physical, for the dogs. The ASPCA then works to educate the public on the abusive nature of the puppy mills, and the harm it causes to the animals. As the public learns to obtain dogs from reputable stores and shelters, the mills will gradually loose business and money, eventually rendering them obsolete. Donating and/or volunteering at your local shelters, are the most efficient ways to actively help in the fight against puppy mills.

operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs.

[dogs] are living within a single dwelling than there is space for, so that movement is restricted, privacy secluded, hygiene impossible, rest and sleep difficult.

Inhumane: Whenever someone acts without consid-

/To Suggest (30 key words)

ering the discomfort or pain of another person or animal, you can describe their actions as inhumane. A cruel government that keeps prisoners in terrible conditions is inhumane, and the treatment of farm animals is in some cases revealed to be inhumane by investigators. The word inhumane was originally a synonym of inhuman, literally “not human,” but it fell out of use and then was revived in the 1820s to mean the opposite of humane.

Animal Cruelty: is the human infliction of suffering

Exploit: This noun is from Middle English expleit,

or harm upon non-human animals, for purposes other than self-defense or survival. More narrowly, it can be harm for specific gain.

exploit “outcome,” from Latin explicitus “unfolded, set forth.” The verb exploit means to use someone or something, usually selfishly or for profit––workers who are tired of being exploited by factory owners


form unions that allow them to stand together as a powerful force.

Neglected: To neglect something is to not take good care of it, like neglecting your pet salamander by not cleaning its cage, or fail to show your usual affection — neglecting your old friends when you make new ones. The person or thing that endures such shabby treatment is neglected — feeling unloved, ignored, and in need. Another meaning of neglected is “overlooked,” like when you neglected to bring your umbrella and got soaked.

/ Breeding Operation / Unhealthy / Defects / Disease / Infection / Disorder / Unclean / Falsified / Shyness / Aggression / Fear / Anxiety / Unsanitary / No Socialization / Cages / Filthy / Killed / Neglected /Purebred / Cash Crop / Missouri (The Puppy Mill Capital of the U.S.) / Illegal / Cruel / Adoption / Survivor / Farm / Commercial / Operation / Profit / Abuse /


/Text (working headlines) Working Like A Dog: Female breeding dogs are often

Purebled: Puppy Mills will often breed whatever

bred every time they go into heat, and when they can no longer reproduce, usually around 4 years old, they are killed.

type of purebred dog is currently popular, and once that popularity wains, the over abundance of the breed will often lead to euthanizing

We’ve Got a Bone to Pick: Overcrowding in puppy

: purebred doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Filthy, overcrowded conditions within puppy mills can lead to mental and physical diseases that can affect the dog its entire life

mills leads to social, emotional, and physical conditions, including genetic disorders and deformities.

Not Every Dog Has Its Day: Overcrowded puppy mills can lead to a myriad of diseases, including death.

Born to Breed: After the female breeder dog has

Sick As A Dog: Overcrowded puppy mills can lead to

reached the age of 4 years, it is often no longer needed and killed. - REWORD

a myriad of diseases, including death.

I Centuple Dog Dare You: To adopt from your local shelter, helping put puppy mills out of business.

Let Sleeping Dogs Die: Buying from puppy mills supports cruelty to animals.

Labradon’tle: Designer dogs are generally popular for a short time, causing overbreeding which can ultimately lead to the dogs being euthanized when they cannot find a home. Profit=Priority

Volunteer locally. Save lives globally: By supporting


your local animal shelter, you are taking money from puppy mills, and saving dogs’ lives.

Dog Display Afternoon: Pet stores almost always buy from Puppy Mills. Do your part and get your next dog from your local shelter.

Going Down? (photo of an overcrowded elevator)Overcrowding sucks for 4 floors . Try 4 years

Quantity over Quality: Puppy mills are concerned with making money, not the well-being of the dogs.

Beware of Dog Owner: Puppy mills are run with only one goal; make money, by whatever means possible.

Teach an Old Dog a New Trick Man’s Best Friend?


The Graphic Imperative: Poster Exploration


The Graphic Imperative: Final Posters


The Graphic Imperative: Concept Statements /Type and Image: It is no secret that dogs are often

/Type as Image: Puppy mills contribute immensely to

abused and neglected at puppy mills. However, the abuse isn’t always physical, and therefore not immediately evident. Lack of sunlight, exercise and poor nutrition can lead to psychological and behavioral problems that the dog’s purchaser may not be made aware of, until later in its life. This poster then attempts to draw attention to the problem by literally making the issue hard to see. The dog is cut from a chain link fence, to remind the viewer of the poor living conditions forced upon these dogs.

the pet overpopulation problem in the United States. As their sole priority is to make money, they breed whenever, and as often as possible, essentially “flooding” the market (pet stores) with their product. When the dogs don’t sell, they are then taken to already overcrowded shelters, and eventually, if not adopted, put to sleep. By tweaking the old idiom to read, “NOT every dog has its day,” the viewer understands there is a problem, and hopefully gets drawn in to learn what it is. The type is made from dog fur, which adds another layer to the concept.


/Reflection: I chose the ASPCA for my advocacy group because I am passionately against animal abuse. I honestly believe that if more people knew about puppy mills, and how easily we, as a whole, could shut them down, they wouldn’t buy their next dog from a mill, or a pet store that mill’s sell to. However, in regard to the project, the puppy mills weren’t the easiest issue to tackle. Limited imagery made it difficult to find a smart concept that didn’t seem to obvious or contrived and many ideas were considered before eventually finding two that worked. Ultimately, I think my two posters successfully pulled in the viewer, visually, and hopefully intrigued them enough to read about, and perhaps even be inspired by the cause.


/Problem: Overcrowding in Puppy Mills leads to poor living conditions, which in turn results in health problems, both mental and physical, for the dogs.

/Solution: Adopt from your local animal shelter; save lives, globally. /Action: Visit ASPCA.ORG and educate yourself on the harm puppy mills cause to dogs and what you can do to help.


/Sources: /1 "Puppy Mills." ASPCA. N.p., 2013. Web. 01 Sept. 2013. /2 "Puppy Mill." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Aug. 2013. Web. 01 Sept. 2013. /3 "Puppy Mills: Dogs Abused for the Pet Trade." PETA.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2013. /4 "Puppy Mills : The Humane Society of the United States." RSS. N.p., 2013. Web. 01 Sept. 2013. /5 "How To: Fight Puppy Mills." Do Something. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2013.


The Graphic Imperative: ASPCA Advocacy Posters  

Process Book by Jonathan Heter, for VISC 402, Patrick Dooley, Fall 2013, University of Kansas