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What you don’t know and what you don’t have

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What you don’t know and what you don’t have

Travis Heth, Contributing Writer

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For my First Amendment week project, I decided to create a series of fifteen posters propaganda posters to help educate people on the First Amendment. As part of the project, I decided that these posters will be based on a fictional government organization known as the State. Within this repressive government, individualism is looked down upon and in some cases outright outlawed. People who are a part of the government are dressed in these black militaristic uniforms. To help tie the posters together, I used the same font for all the text. I also made sure that there was a little of red in each and every one of the posters. The reasons why I choose to use red so much is that natural red is an easily noticeable and strong color. Historically, red was a commonly used color for propaganda posters—especially posters from communist nations. They viewed the color red as symbolic of the unity, strength, and willpower of the people. Throughout the series, the individual is illustrated as the guy in the blue shirt.  

When categorizing the posters into groups, one of the groups does not deal with the ideology of the government. The headlines of these posters will read “Defenders of the State” and “In the State We Trust”. Another group of posters are ones that directly tell the people of the rights that they do not have. An example of this group is a poster with the headline, “You are not allowed to assemble or “The State is the only religion”. These are pretty self-explanatory of the rights that they are disallowing. The next group of posters are ones where the headline contradicts the visuals on the poster. An example of this group the poster with the headline, “There is no reason to petition,” where the illustration on the poster shows an individual with tape over mouth and all tied up. I chose to do this type of poster because it would be more interesting to the viewer compared to a poster that is simply an information dump on first amendment rights. The last group of posters illustrate a world where the individual is not in control and the government is all knowing. Headlines from this category include, “The State is watching you” and “There is no need to think. The State does that for you”. These do not associate directly with the First Amendment but show the viewer that this group will probably take away those rights. For this project, I wanted these posters to be interesting and challenging at the same time to explain to the viewer about First Amendment rights in a different way. One of the big challenges was resisting the urge to just dump a ton of information onto a poster, because having a ton of text on a poster will seem overwhelming and eventually lose a person’s interest in viewing the poster. My intention for these posters is to educate people on their rights by showing a fictional world where those rights do not exist.  

These posters will be on display in Center for Sculpture and Ceramics, also known as The Nest, in the Social Science and Art (SSA) building, starting Wednesday, Dec. 5.

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What you don’t know and what you don’t have