The power and impact of word, image and narrative.


In this mornings lecture, we were introduce our 1-day project of creating political ephemera. We were shown a series of political movements and the posters that were. Also in the presentation were a list of artists/designers, from present or past, who create(d) political ephemera/protest art. My notes from the lecture are below:

In the lecture, we were shown hand-painted political banners used in protests. We were shown how something as simple as a hand-painted banner, saying what you think, can be a really powerful and strong piece of design. In our groups, we next had to create a piece of work of protest material, supporting the manifesto we wrote last week.

Race Equality

Group: Josh, Ffion

Our manifesto is race equality and at the moment with what is going on in the world that seems a very topical issue. We wanted to use what is going on right now and implement that into our work. With Trump wanted to build a wall and his muslim ban, we used that to instigate our idea. At first we thought of having a series of posters with a wall as the background and hand-painted slogans like “adios amigos”, to play a joke on Trump’s rule. We then discussed this idea more and thought that actually physically building a wall and having that as our piece would create more of an impact. Our main idea, was to have something behind the wall and as you built it you would be covering it, so you would be hiding what you could have.

In our manifesto, we talk about how we want diversity within everyone lives between different races, ethnicities and cultures. We wanted to show some of the values written in our manifesto within our work. We came up with the idea of have a box and on the box we would paint a wall. Inside, there would be mini-posters with our values from our manifesto written onto them – e.g. embrace our cultures, diversity, hope,… We would then cut 2 holes – as eyes – onto the side of the box, having a light shining in, so that you could see all the posters we have made. The idea would be that the wall is covering what could have and by having the wall there, you are missing out on those wonderful things (like what could happen with Trump wanting to build a wall between USA and Mexico). The wall would also represent the barrier between stopping racism and how their are obstacles to getting an interracial society.

Building the wall

Using paint, Josh (who does Illustration and paints regularly) set out to painting the wall.

Me and Ffion began painting the mini-posters. We took out words from the manifesto to use and cut out cardboard pieces to use for the posters.

We decided that we wanted to make the posters have quite a stereotypical look of protest posters so very colourful, boldly written type and eye-catching. This was because, when the posters are inside the box, they’re in darkness with just a light showing on them. So we want them to be bright and colourful so that when you look beyond the bland brick wall, you see a bright and colour prospect.


Above are the posters we painted. We arranged them inside the box staggered so that you could see them easily as you looked in. The next point was closing the sides so that it was a closed box. When we went to cut the ‘eyes’ into the wall, we realised that you would be able to see all the posters properly so instead we cut out parts of 4 of the bricks and had it so that you had to open up the brick, like a door to see what was inside.

The box is one big metaphor really and we felt that it would be communicated well but we did worry that people might not understand the meaning of having the posters inside. So on the bricks that opened up we wrote “which side are you on?” Asking a question to the viewer would automatically make them think of sides to the piece of art work, and in this case we want them to think whether they would like to be on the side ‘one’ race, ‘pure blood’ and perhaps racism or on the side where there is unity and diversity between all different races and cultures.

Final piece:

Above are pictures of the final piece. Overall I’m really pleased with the final piece. I think we’ve achieved a lot in the little time we had. If we did have more time and space, I would have been great to make it a lot bigger. Even having it as one huge installation piece so that people would really have to interact with it and unpick the meaning of the piece.


Author: ellenreiddesign

First year Graphic Communication student at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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