That’s my question for Ann Ford, the designer of the “Don’t Piss Away Your Vote” poster shown below, which she created for AIGA’s “Get Out The Vote 2016” campaign. Ford has an MFA in design and visual communications and is currently an Associate Professor teaching graphic design, typography and graphic design history. In a statement on her design Ford states, “regardless of your voting preferences, just vote. Our children are depending on us to choose for their future. Let’s not let them down.” It’s safe to say Ford knows her stuff and is passionate about voting.
Let me start off by saying, I appreciate Ford’s take on AIGA’s “Get Out the Vote 2016” campaign. Her submission has good visual balance, composition, use of color and catchy messaging. “Don’t Piss Away Your Vote” is simple, witty and effective…. at first glance.
In Ford’s poster design, the background image (a row of blue Don’s Johns) is an unexpected element which creates visual interest, gives shape to the poster, and cleverly echo’s the stalls of the polling place environment. However, if the designer’s goal is to encourage viewers to vote, is this a connection she wants the us to be making?
I don’t know about you but I hear both frustration and passion from a person who knows the importance of voting. I don’t see these emotions communicated through this design. In fact, the imagery of Don’s Johns that look like polling booths highlight the mundane aspect of voting! This connection has me stressing about how I’m going to fit driving to the polling place and waiting in line to my already busy work and school schedule.
Aside from this argument – I think the poster could still be improved in other ways. Ford did an excellent job creating a simple and “clean” design, there are no unnecessary elements. But what this poster needs is style. “Don’t Piss Away Your Vote” has attitude! This is also a current topic, therefore it’s important to be modern, and energetic – not pedestrian.
No, I’m not saying to decorate, I’m saying this poster design fails to communicate the emotion and passion Ford expressed in her statement of intent. If the goal is to create a buzz about voting, there needs to be an element of energy and passion. One way I think this could be achieved without loosing the initial concept would be to explore different typography applications. I would have liked to see the treatment of the type contrast the crudeness / pedestrian aspect of the background image, even if subtly. Using the treatment of the typographic elements as a means to illustrate the message could transform this poster from a clever idea into an eye catching conversation piece!
So my question for the designer is, why go to the bathroom if you’re not going to take a piss? Finish the job Ford!
Check out more of the designer, Ann Ford’s work here: https://www.behance.net/annford