A collection of posters by AIGA leaders across the U.S. representing Get Out the Vote 2016, the latest campaign of AIGA Design for Democracy. Learn more and download your favorite posters at AIGA.org/vote.
Nearly 30% of the US population will be Latino by the year 2050, yet, only 48% of Latinos eligible to vote turned out on election day in 2012. The policies under discussion during this election make it imperative that this year they take a more active role in the democratic process that will shape the future of their community and of the country at large.
I invited Mr. Edward James Olmos to provide his iconic image as a trusted leader in the Latino community to urge people to register and vote. Mr. Olmos’ decisive facial expression is intended to reflect the message: “this year your vote is a serious matter—register to vote!”
While it's unlikely that a single vote will be the deciding factor in elections–local or national–the combined actions of individuals define the outcome. A vote is part of a collective voice that articulates what the people want from their government, even if the voter doesn't get exactly what they wanted. So exercise your influence. Be part of the conversation. Vote.
Less than 55 years ago, many blacks weren’t allowed to vote unless they passed a literacy test or could count the number of jelly beans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap. Many activists and protesters fought for your right to vote on November 8, 2016.
Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, we’re being driven apart, rather than pulled together. Organized into voting blocks and statistics that drive talking points and sound bites. There’s an agenda behind everything, and we fall for it because it’s what we want to hear. Then we repeat it with vigor and conviction. Of course, I’m not talking about you, I’m talking about those other people. You’re too smart for that, and are also good looking.
This concept presents one form of a metaphorical, ever-changing book chronicling the past, present, and future of the great democratic nation of the United States of America. The term of our 44th president is coming to a close, so the 2016 election represents our opportunity to “write the next chapter” with our vote. Through our vote, we literally have the power to create the future of our nation.
Langston Hughes wrote the poem “Words Like Freedom,” and in it he states, “There are words like Freedom, Sweet and wonderful to say. On my heart strings freedom sings, All day everyday … There are words like Liberty, That almost make me cry. If you had known what I know. You would know why.”
My poster pays tribute to him and all the words we say with our votes.
Designed in Chinese using Kanji ideograms, this poster is intended to help close that gap. The design is targeted at voters who read Chinese, but also to teach non-readers the characters for “vote.” It was designed by three immigrant and first generation Chinese-Americans employed at Jackson Fish Market. The studio is housed in the former Immigration and Naturalization Service headquarters where throughout the twentieth century, Chinese-Americans entered the United States, Chinese-Americans were naturalized as American citizens, and some Chinese-Americans were held as detainees under the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
“…and her name Mother of Exiles.”
The New Colossus (inscribed on The Statue of Liberty)
This image celebrates a nation of immigrants—and the imperative for each citizen, native born or naturalized, to cast their ballot and share their unique voice.
“Vote” is featured on the poster in Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, and Spanish, all options for the audio tour at the Statue of Liberty. Recent census data notes more than 40 languages in active use across the United States of America.
We asked colleagues and acquaintances, friends and family to provide the translations. That interaction made the act of design an homage to our civic ideals and multi-cultural identity.
CMYK color processing combines 4 colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) in various formations that blend into any color we can imagine. There is an inherent metaphor in our election and voting process. When all our ideals, cultures, and beliefs come together they blend into one. It's interesting to see all the colors come together, and if we look really hard we can see that our vote is never lost. We can count it and count on it. This is the color of our democracy.
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
Every person we elect to lead our nation remains in our collective memory forever (whether positively or negatively). For this poster, I wanted to highlight the names of past presidents and since we've got some big names for this year's election, I thought it's worth considering which names would be potentially added to the list in the future (for better or worse). As we gear up for another election, I hope we keep in mind that we have a choice to make in the current moment that will affect our future and will remain in our collective history forever.
In order for us to be a true Democracy the government must be “of the people, by the people, for the people," as President Lincoln once said. But in practice that is not how it works when people don’t express themselves through the one power democracy gives them—the VOTE. Instead of expressing their views at the polls, supporting candidates that represent their values and needs, too many citizens crowd together like sheep without a shepherd and bleat pointlessly—“there’s nothing we can do.”
The fractious Presidential campaign of 2016 threatens to tear apart the very fabric of our national system. Can we work together as a single people, stronger, culturally united, and dedicated to the good of the republic? Or will the image of America be weakened and dimmed by intolerance. Participate and vote.
The AIGA Design for Democracy “vote!" logo was designed by the class of 2001 at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Included in our work to redesign the voting experience in Chicago, and beyond, was the development of a mark of civic identity designed to symbolize participatory democracy.
In November 2000, a poorly designed ballot in Florida provided an unexpected and unprecedented opportunity to act as a catalyst for change in the design of election materials.
Taking advantage of this opportunity, a multidisciplinary class at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) worked in collaboration with AIGA, the Office of the Cook County Clerk and the Chicago Election Board to conduct research and to develop theoretical solutions designed to improve the informational and physical systems involved in the American voting experience.
Under AIGA’s Design for Democracy initiative, prototypes developed by UIC students for polling place signage, document management and storage, and absentee balloting have been implemented in Chicago and suburban Cook County.
As Americans who enjoy freedom and prosperity, it is our responsibility to uphold the government that guarantees us these rights. Only by expressing our voice through our votes can we protect the freedoms we have that give us the right to do so.
Voting is a reflection of our belief in and commitment to a democratic government. The beginning and the continuance of our democracy depends on each citizen exercising his or her right and duty to participate. To vote is to proclaim our democracy matters.
I collect all kinds of objects, ideas, and arcane bits of information. In this poster, I hope to inspire folks to vote by sharing some things I find awesome about our country from the perspective of an immigrant who wasn’t born with the right to vote. In this poster, I offer up my appreciation of American landscapes as discovered through my collection of 1960s Paint By Numbers, my love of American folk music and the rich culture of taking pride in our work and land as expressed by Woody Guthrie, and the immense opportunity I see embedded in the consequential act of voting for our beliefs. We live in a country rich with influence—indeed, who we are is predicated on our commitment to look, reflect, evolve, and voice our convictions. And, I believe the most influential tool at our disposal is the vote. Use it freely.
Whether you are actively voting or sitting at home and doing nothing, you are making a decision about our leadership. Nobody is exempt from the responsibility of a democracy. Don’t be a sheep.
This civic engagement initiative wields the power of design to motivate the American public to register and turn out to vote in the 2016 general election.
There are AIGA Get Out the Vote exhibitions throughout the country. In July, posters are on display during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia at Art Gallery at City Hall and the Painted Bride Art Center and during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland at The Galleries at CSU. In October, posters will be on display during the AIGA Design Conference in Las Vegas.
AIGA Get Out the Vote posters are available for download, printing, and distribution by anyone interested in supporting AIGA's mission. Explore the gallery and help Get Out the Vote in your community!
If sharing on social, please use the hashtag #AIGAvote.
Program partner: A respected leader in the voter engagement field for more than 95 years, the League of Women Voters is active in all 50 states and nearly 800 communities. League volunteers conduct nonpartisan voter registration, education, and mobilization year-round with the goal of engaging millions of voters in local, state, and federal elections, and ensuring that they have fair and equal access to the vote. Visit the League's award-winning election information website, VOTE411.org, to find out about upcoming elections in your community.
Posters and descriptions are by AIGA members, including AIGA Medalists, AIGA National Board, AIGA Chapter Presidents (past and current), AIGA’s Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, Design for Democracy, and Get Out the Vote Committee.
AIGA Get Out the Vote identity design by Christine Wisnieski.
Designers retain copyright and agree to distribute under a Creative Commons “Attribution-NoDerivs” License.
Learn more about AIGA, the professional association for design and its mission at AIGA.org.
Online exhibition by Aidan O’Connor, strategic initiatives director; Heather Strelecki, archives director; and Jenn Visocky O’Grady, AIGA National Board.
Special thanks to AIGA staff, including: John Snowden, content production specialist; Julie Anixter, executive director; Katie Baker, chapter development director; Laetitia Wolff, marketing and communications director; Obed Figueroa, Diversity & Inclusion resident; and Tiia Schurig, technology director.