As you may have noticed, we find ourselves in the middle of an election year! Here at AIGA Boston, we decided to harness the strong feelings filling the air for something creative by hosting a design-a-thon to create posters for AIGA’s Get Out the Vote campaign. The campaign calls members to contribute a non-partisan design to the online gallery.
Photo credit: Sabrina Gilmore
To kick off the event we asked professor Thomas Starr, Northeastern, to lend his expertise for our inspiration. Using Benjamin Franklin’s classic “Join, or Die” cartoon as a reference point, he discussed how political messaging has necessarily changed along with our country. The demanding calls to action that once appealed to a new nation’s sense of duty may no longer connect with an audience that has a different relationship with our democracy.
Benjamin Franklin, Wikipedia
Thomas shared a few tips for designing within this context:
One: An effective approach for reaching today’s audience is to switch the point of view. Rather than talking at your viewer, create a message that they’re forced to involve themselves with: “I Voted” vs. “Vote.”
Two: Leaving a message open ended is another way of involving your viewer on a deeper level. By inviting them to finish the thought, you are creating a moment of pause, reflection, or “a-ha!” that will stick with them longer than an easily digestible line.
Attendee Robert Lundberg‘s idea for his poster recalls “Join, or Die,” but by leaving the last word blank he requires the viewer to examine his or her relationship with voting.
Three: The most powerful and iconic ideas are simple enough to hold up even when viewed at thumbnail size. Ensure that your design draws people in whether they can read the fine print or not. Bold, graphic statements or intriguing images are equally compelling whether the size of a stamp or a bus stop ad.
Shepard Fairey, Wikipedia
Why do you vote? What do you think keeps people from voting?
These questions posed by board member Michelle Curtis got a rich discussion started that explored what could be communicated in our designs. We delved into what role passion, a sense of duty, the candidates, families, time, the voting process, registering and other factors play in why we do or do not vote.
All attendees challenged themselves to reach the audience in this muddied election. Some members sought to bring those whose preferred candidate is not the nominee to the polls. Others set out to tackle the loss of faith in our political system in this post-Bush v. Gore election. Some of us used history as a means to speak beyond the madhouse that is campaign season.
Photo credits: Sabrina Gilmore
We had a great afternoon of learning, critical thinking, designing and socializing that brought us back to our more collaborative college days. The group produced some truly impressive and thought-provoking ideas that we are excited to see realized in the Get Out the Vote gallery.
We’ll be posting all Boston member entries here, and we’d love to include yours! Grab a template here, design your poster, and drop me, Emily Hamre, a note once you’ve submitted your design and we’ll be sure to publish and share it on the AIGA Boston channels. Designs will be accepted until Election Day.
Be a Game Changer by Grace Luk
Why do you vote? “To be a game changer”
Go Vote by Joe Elwell
“My goal for this poster was to create the sense of urgency and importance.”
View alternate color version
your vote matters by Rena Sokolow
Its important to remind people to vote.
Eternal Vigilance by Niki Blaker
As Americans who enjoy freedom and prosperity, it is our responsibility to uphold the government that guarantees us these rights.
Revision by Michelle Curtis
Challenging apathy rather than forcing an action.
Take Responsibility. Vote. by Nicholas DiStefano
Don’t fall into the habit of “See no evil; hear no evil; speak no evil.”
Vote by Keith Kitz
Not everyone has the right. Exercise yours. Vote.
#VOTEORTRUMP by Michael Matthews
This poster reminds anyone, regardless of party affiliation, who is planning not to vote in protest of either party nominees on the ballot in November, of the fact: inaction is action; your missing vote may count against you.
Gravity by Ryan Habbyshaw
64 pieces each responsible for a moment in history….The gravity of your vote will unite.