lunes, 27 de octubre de 2008

Design for Democracy

An African Style
by Wendy MacNaughton

In late 2000, Wendy was offered the opportunity to create the national civic sensitization campaign for the first democratic local elections in Rwanda. The purpose of the campaign was to educate citizens (est. 8 million) about the purpose and importance of voting, teach people to use a secret ballot, and motivate everyone to participate. The campaign had to communicate equally to literate and non-literate voters, and be extremely sensitive to ethnicity and ethnic, political and economic division.

Working with the National Electoral Commission of Rwanda and United States Agency for International Development I attempted to create a campaign that was culturally relevant, ethnically sensitive and easily understood, regardless of the viewerʼs level of literacy. The campaign consisted of three different mediums: posters, fliers and spray painted street graphics. With the help of cultural consultants and local businesses, I created a culturally appropriate concept, hand drew the graphics, supervised printing and organized national distribution of over 40,000 pieces of printed material.

The campaignʼs concept was simple. In Rwanda, most people sign official documents by stamping their thumbprint. With the introduction of the secret ballot, people would be using their thumbprints to cast their votes. I combined the image of an inked thumb with a “thumbs up” sign (which means the same thing in Rwanda as it does in the U.S.) and produced a graphic that read: voting is good. The NEC and I selected the word “Dutore” to complement the image. Translated to English, Dutore means “We Vote.” Two additional posters were created to visually communicate the process of using a secret ballot and the relevance of the local elections to peopleʼs daily life. These posters employed a comic book technique, as this was the most familiar and effective way to communicate a narrative and avoid visual references to ethnicity...

More info: design altruism project

Wendy MacNaughton is graduate of Art Center College and Columbia University and works at Underground in San Francisco.

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