History of Graphic Design Meets ADP
By Jen Domagal-Goldman, National Manager, American Democracy Project
Back in October 2009, Karrie Simpson Voth, a faculty member at Fort Hays State University, contributed a guest blog post, “Fourth Annual American Democracy Project Poster Exhibition,” about a History of Graphic Design course assignment asking students to create posters that “create awareness in civic engagement efforts, citizenship, and democracy” with six particular goals in mind:
- To explore the relationship between graphic design and its audience.
- To recognize and distinguish between stylistic periods of graphic design and study the social and economic impact of design activities during each period.
- Engage in class discussions of the topics of democracy, citizenship, and civic engagement in order to promote a better understanding of the stated topics and how each relates to graphic design.
- To promote political awareness through graphic design and realize the power a designer has to influence others in their design.
- To influence, persuade, make an impact, and/or change the way an individual and/or community thinks about civic engagement, citizenship, and democracy.
- Be an example to the youth of today by illustrating the importance of voting and of being proactive in the issues that concern our country and world. This year, seventy posters were on display in the Fort Hays State University Memorial Union. For one week, students, faculty, staff, and the Hays community were encouraged to vote for their top three favorite posters.
I recently stumbled upon a “History of Graphic Design” student’s online portfolio after doing a Google search for “American Democracy Project.” And, while you can view photos of the exhibit in the original blog story, none of the links in the original blog post are still active, so images of the individual posters are missing.
Mike Miller is currently a junior at Fort Hays State University from Chanute, Kansas. He is a graphic design major
planning to graduate in spring 2012. He enjoys book binding and 80’s pop music and has a cat named Noise.
Mike graciously agreed to let me share his online portfolio with you and, specifically, his five ADP posters. He says that the History of Graphic Design ADP course assignment,
enabled me to learn different ways to speak out while reflecting and remixing different design styles. I have learned to be more politically engaged and aware of what is going on from local to national issues. In college it is very easy to be in a bubble with social and work distractions.
Since he created the posters in 2009, I asked him if his perspective on citizenship and democracy issues has shifted at all. He responded,
The work I have created reflects my views then. They have not changed, only matured. I approached the views that I felt weren’t in the forefront, such as the lower turnout of Americans voting in any election that matters. Then there are social issues that I felt needed to be addressed like the freedom of childhood, and my stance on war policies in America.
Regarding his creative process, Mike indicated,
My process was largely collaborative effort with my classmates, when working with complex ideas, through Facebook we commented and gave constructive criticism and made changes then reposted. I found it valuable working with 27 minds instead of one.
And, finally, Mike Miller hopes that his posters help others “see that my generation is involved and aware of politics and current issues facing us; too often that people assume we are out of touch.”
I hope you enjoy viewing Mike’s posters as much as I did!
To view Mike Miller’s portfolio and the five ADP posters he designed, go here.
To view the initial blog post about the History of Graphic Design course, go here.