Making Policy Public: Call for Designers

Social Security Risk MachineThe Center for Urban Pedagogy sends along this open call for designers for its series of borchure-and-poster visual briefs on vital issues in US policy. Their text:

“Making Policy Public, CUP’s new collaborative series of publications, uses innovative graphic design to explore and explain public policy. Our distinguished jury has selected advocates’ proposals for the next issues of Making Policy Public. We are now seeking designers to collaborate with these advocates to illuminate the issues. Designers chosen through the juried submission process will receive full attribution for their work, an honorarium of $1000, and publicity through CUP.”

See the four policy briefs for 2008, as well as previous briefs on The Cargo Chain and The Social Security Risk Machine.

Expressions of interest and a limited portfolio are due Monday, June 16.

For submission guidelines and more about the project, visit the Making Policy Public website:

>  27 May 2008 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

Art Workers’ Coalition

From Wikipedia:

“The Art Workers’ Coalition (AWC) was an open coalition of artists, filmmakers, writers, critics, and museum staff that formed in New York City in January 1969. Its principal aim was to pressure the city’s museums – notably the Museum of Modern Art – into implementing various reforms. These included a more open and less exclusive exhibition policy concerning the artists they exhibited and promoted: the absence of women artists and artists of color was a principal issue of contention; free public access: the coalition successfully pressured the MoMA and other museums into implementing a free admission day that still exists to this day. It also pressured and picketed museums into taking a moral stance on the Vietnam War which resulted in its famous My Lai poster, one of the most important works of political art of the early 1970s. The poster was displayed during demonstrations in front of Pablo Picasso’s Guernica at the MoMA in 1970.”

Q. And Babies? A. And Babies.

From Victor Margolin, “Rebellion, Reform, and Revolution: American Graphic Design for Social Change:”

“The Museum of Modem Art had promised to help distribute the poster but the trustees withdrew the agreement, going against the wishes of the staff. Member of the Art Workers’ Coalition picketed the museum in protest and stamped some of the 50,000 copies they distributed with the message, ‘This poster was originally co-sponsored by the Museum of Modem Art. On December 18, 1969, trustee William S. Paley forbad the museum to associate its name with it.’”

>  25 May 2008 | LINK | Filed in ,

Migration and Displacement

Colectivo.Aliados 2.0 has a nice Flickr set of posters and photographs on migration and displacement. These are some of my favorites:

ca_flag_embrace.jpg ca_fence.jpg ca_beach.jpg ca_want_need.jpg

See previous online galleries of their poster work on war, the women of Juárez and domestic violence.

>  1 May 2008 | LINK | Filed in , ,



By Polish poster designer Paweł Synowiec. I found this on Flickr while searching for something else. It stopped me cold.

>  3 April 2008 | LINK | Filed in ,


A year ago, I received an email from “Tony:”

“I have looked all over the web, and just can’t find the simple themes that can be posted to the back of poster board or foam board and used at street vigils. I just need simple stuff for 11 by 17 AND 8 1/2 BY 11 COPYING.

Can you help? The power of one or two people in public holding simple antiwar protest messages is great. I just can’t find anything on the net that isn’t too artsy-fartsy, or too damn pacifist-wimpy.”

I smacked into this “artsy-fartsy” factor again a few weeks ago when United for Peace and Justice asked if I could turn out some poster designs on short notice. They sent their final copy and I set to thinking about how to represent things iconographically in a beautiful, compelling way. I rummaged through the usual toolbox (coffins, dollars, boots, ribbons, etc.) as well as play with color and typographic notes (big X’s, oversized punctuation, etc.) One slogan in particular raised an interesting problem: how to graphically represent “community” for marches in eleven very different cities.

Nevertheless, over the weekend’s iteration the org requested the gradual removal of all imagery, iconography, and embellishment. I was trying to do something graphically interesting to myself, but the group had a very specific use case in mind. The posters were not intended for pasting on the street, to attract passersby with flourish, humor, or imagery. They wanted something to be carried high and read from a distance, particularly when reproduced in photos, newspaper clippings, or seconds-long TV news highlights. As such, these were props to represent the march in memory as much as in person, to disappear and punch the message through network editing and newspaper cropping. The simpler and bolder the better.

With a little more time I would have refined these further, but here are the results below. Click on a thumbnail to download a printable PDF.

>  7 November 2007 | LINK | Filed in , , , , ,

Wanted at Harvard

A flyer I designed appears on the front page of today’s edition of the Ma’ariv, the second largest newspaper in Israel.

Maariv Cover

Here’s a close up:

Maariv Closeup

The flyer is for a campaign by Alliance for Justice in the Middle East, a student group at Harvard University.

The text calls attention to the enrollment of former Israeli general Dan Halutz in the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. Halutz oversaw the bombing of Lebanon in the summer of 2006. See his dossier here.

And he’s not the first accused war criminal enrolled by Harvard. See a short list of bios on the AJME site. The AJME is campaigning to establish a set of practices to screen for war criminals and serious human rights abusers as part of its admissions and hiring policies.

The campaign was relatively modest to achieve such front page coverage. The group set up a free web site on blogspot. They printed up the flyer and handed it out on campus. They also sent out a press release about the campaign, which resulted in front page coverage.

Here’s the full article in Hebrew on the Ma’ariv web site and AJME’s English translation of it.

Click below for a larger version of the flyer:

Wanted: Dan Halutz

For contrast, see another iteration below. I think it’s a little more evocative, but maybe less direct.

AJME Quote Poster

Update: The flyer is featured online at Time and Al Jazeera. See other coverage of the campaign.

>  15 May 2007 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

First Responders

First Responders

Funny to see police and firefighters making their case with street posters (and with such an ‘oppositional’ style) — considering its the police who enforce the vandalism laws. I guess the streets are it when you feel the government has abandoned you.

>  15 April 2007 | LINK | Filed in , ,
Blog to Broadside. Inspired by a post she read on Yolanda Carrington’s blog The Primary Contradiction rebutting frequently asserted assumptions about gender, race, and power, ravenmn put together a flyer based on Yolanda’s post and using artwork inspired by her blog design. Now that’s a nice trackback.
>  8 April 2007 | LINK | Filed in , ,
Radiation Warning. The International Atomic Energy Agency has published a new symbol warning of the dangers of radioactivity to supplement the current trefoil warning symbol. The new symbol provide a more narrative context to the existing abstract mark and was tested for comprehension before a wide-range of focus groups around the world.

Radioactive Warning

(Thanks Romualdo!)
>  22 February 2007 | LINK | Filed in

Negative Campaigning

NYC's True Grafitti Problem

A great action in NYC, taping placards over those outdoor video billboards attached to subway entrances. The typography is composed of holes in the board, illuminated by the video ad beneath.

The project is Light Criticism, brought to you by the Anti-Advertising Agency and the Graffiti Research Lab.

In form, it reminds me of the work of Moose, writing his name on walls by cleaning them.

In context, it’s a lot like this guerilla wayfinding campaign, a grassroots, illegal action for civic improvement.

>  24 January 2007 | LINK | Filed in , , , , ,

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