Good question, Jessica!

Published: October 21, 2008

My friend, Jessica Watson from Happy Hour Studio posed the following question after viewing my last post:

If your company had to design a poster to promote voting, how would you go about it?

I happen to love poster design, mostly because of my love of color and bold graphics. Posters tend to be more powerful the less text they have on them. People won't bother to read a wordy poster. As a designer, you should be able to convey everything you want to say using imagery, and minimal text if absolutely necessary.

To give you an example, please take a look at the poster I designed for the Urban Forest Project in Baltimore:

And here is the story behind it:

A little over a year ago, an acquaintance of mine, Zach Sowers was walking from Canton to his home in Patterson Park. Four men pulled up in a car, two of them jumped out, and asked Zach for a cigarette.

He said he didn't have one, then one man proceeded to take his wallet, and then beat him
beyond recognition while the other three watched. He passed away this past March, and his wife has been active in speaking in the community and raising awareness about what happened to Zach. You can read about their story at

I had the honor of designing the t-shirt that is being sold to help pay his medical bills and raise

awareness of the growing problem in this city. But as the crime rate continues to soar, it feels like the message is still getting lost.

I was inspired by Zach to create a poster to express my unhappiness with the growing rate of crime (mostly murder) in Baltimore. Anna
Ditkoff, a writer for the City Paper, has created a map that pinpoints each murder that has occurred since the beginning of 2007. Viewing this map for the first time was a powerful and disturbing experience, and one that each resident of not only the city, but the whole state needs to see.

An equally powerful image is one of a tree that's been cut down. To some, it might represent

possibility made by paper or economic development. But to many, it symbolizes waste, pollution
and deforestation.

So here's my poster concept: The poster is a graphic map of Baltimore city. Where each murder of 2007 has taken place, there is an icon of a cut-down tree.Underneath,a large image of the cut-down tree will be shown as a visual reference for the viewer. The illustration was created with the help of my husband, Mark Ludwig.

This way the poster has a double-meaning: Baltimore is currently a wasteful and violent place. My hope is that this poster would inspire its viewers to do their part to lower the crime and murder rates in the city.


I feel I would take the same approach in creating a poster for voting. Strong imagery, little or no text, with strong meaning behind it. Jessica, I hope that answers your question.

Back to Blog

Blog Archive

  • 2024 (7)
  • 2023 (42)
  • 2022 (45)
  • 2021 (40)
  • 2020 (38)
  • 2019 (32)
  • 2018 (26)
  • 2017 (40)
  • 2016 (35)
  • 2015 (16)
  • 2014 (17)
  • 2013 (26)
  • 2012 (27)
  • 2011 (27)
  • 2010 (30)
  • 2009 (35)
  • 2008 (22)