Art and culture have played a central role in every successful movement for social change. Art can inspire, educate, and spur the imagination beyond the realm of what politics can do. Social justice posters, in particular, are powerful living reminders of the ongoing worldwide struggles for peace and justice. In this activity, students will watch a short video by artist Favianna Rodriguez on the guiding principles of effective poster design, and then will create a poster of their own.
Collage, drawing, poster making
- Multi-colored markers, preferably Sharpies
- A black Sharpie with thick tip
- A glue stick
- Poster board or a large tabloidsized sheet of cardstock paper (11 x 17 in)
- 5–10 sheets of mixed bright colored paper, letter size (8.5 x 11 in)
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About Open Studio
Designed by practicing artists, the Open Studio classroom activities aim to connect high school teachers and students with key ideas and issues in contemporary art. See all of the Open Studio activities.
Preparation of Imagery for Collaging the Poster
Print this file on the colored paper. These images are the elements you’ll use to create your poster.
Watch Artist Favianna Rodriguez Demonstrate Poster Making
View this four-minute video in which Favianna Rodriguez walks you through the poster-making process.
A social justice poster is about communicating and showing our values. Think about what you care about—freedom? racial and gender equity? the environment? animals? This will be the subject of your poster. Here are three guidelines for creating your social justice poster:
- Keep it simple. The beauty and power of a poster is that you should understand it right away. The poster is about inspiring the viewer or moving them to action. Whether someone is walking down the street and sees your poster in a window or is scrolling through social media, they’ll only interact with your poster for about five seconds. What message do you want to communicate? Keep your poster simple by sticking to six words or less.
- Use popular symbols. Use symbols from our culture that people can easily recognize. A heart symbolizes love. A cocoon symbolizes transformation. A fist represents POWER. And |earth reminds us that we all have one home. Symbols from nature are also really effective. For example, a thunderbolt symbolizes strength. A plant symbolizes growth and beauty. There are many symbols you can use that are included in the PDF document.
- Create your poster using collage. One of Rodriguez’s favorite artistic mediums is collage because it allows her to play with elements. You can cut out elements from the PDF packet, or you can draw your own using a black marker.
- Think about how the colors and shapes work together in their
- Cut out your words in a bold color!
- Add some shapes to create a cool background.
Have fun and share your art with us on social media: tag @favianna1 and @sfmoma on Instagram.