GDES-270 fall 2022 / David Ramos, American University Design

Issue poster

In this project, we look to the New Deal era FSA posters as a model of how design can present a vision for a better future. Design a poster that addresses a social, political, or environmental issue, arguing for a particular position or set of responses. Consider choosing an issue that has a relationship to a particular place that you know; also, perhaps find an issue should lend itself to solutions that involve design, the built environment, infrastructure, or landscape.

Don't Kill poster Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project, between 1936 and 1940 (LOC).

Occupy poster

Adbusters, Occupy Wall Street, 2011 (more at Design Observer).

Solidarnosc poster

Tomasz Sarnecki, Solidarność (Solidarity), 1989.

Tulane poster

Martin Venezky, Tulane.

Process and requirements

Start with research so that you gain a strong understanding of the issue. By the middle of the project, write an 650-word paper that describes your issue, lays out the major positions, and presents the argument you’re making, with citations.

Move from there to exploring ideas through sketching, photography, and collecting materials—you should examine three or more concepts in rough form. Post these sketches on Miro for critique.

Create one final poster. The poster should contain a headline that speaks about your topic; it should likely include additional text as subheads and, perhaps, a short paragraph. Provide imagery to accompany the text.

I’ll compile your posters into a PDF book and share them with the whole class.


Obtain instructor permission to use any images that you did not create. At the end of the paper, provide additional citations for all images that are not your own.


At the end of the project, turn on on Canvas:


For fonts, consider Myriad, DIN, Adobe Garamond Pro, Helvetica, Helvetica Neue, Jenson, Source Sans Pro, Source Code Pro, Bodoni, Caslon, IBM Plex (sans, serif, or mono), or Franklin Gothic. It would be prudent to choose one font, or a serif and a sans serif.