Assignment Source: Originally from "Design for Communication" by Elizabeth Resnick, Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Assignment Brief: This assignment was inspired by the Zimbabwean poster design Chaz Maviyane-Davis and his Human Rights poster series, examples of which can be seen on the artist's website here. In his Rights series, produced in the 1990s, he was influenced by his African heritage, his goal to fight for human rights in Africa and his need to "remind authorities of their moral obligations as leaders and human beings."

Your assigment is to visually articulate one of the thirty-one rights from the "Declaration of the Common Rights of Humanity", as written by Jeff Stansbury, found on the United Nations website.The right that you will be illustrating is listed in the table below.

Before you get started: Create a folder on your network space called "lastname_HUMAN_RIGHTS" Save the files of this project to that folder.

How do you proceed?

  1. Start by reviewing the Declaration of the Common Rights of Humanity from the United Nations website. What are these rights? What do they mean?
  2. Review the right that has been assigned to you. Research, if necessary. What does it mean? How does it work?
  3. Brainstorm some ideas that will enable you to create an engaging, effective and meaningful message that supports or argues for the right, so that the message can be understood by a general audience. At this point, some research is not only in order, but required. Spend some time on the Internet investigating "Human Rights Posters" What do they look like? What elements do they contain? How is typography incorporated into their work?
  4. Create three PENCIL SKETCH ideas for how you think you could illustrate your right on your poster.
  5. Participate in our Designer's Roundtable, in which you will discuss your right and demonstrate your sketch ideas to the class for critiquing.
  6. Create your poster. Use all of the Photoshop techniques we have worked with so far this semester.

Assignment of Rights: See the table below for your assigned right.

Alejandro.- Article 1 or 15 Kaelynn- Article 4 or 16 Lane- Article 17 or 9
Carissa- Article 13 or 25 Sam- Article 20 or 26 Daniel- Article 14 or 20

Trial Sketches: After brainstorming for ideas for how you might visually make the point of your chosen right in a thought-provoking manner, sketch out three ideas for your final poster. Make these sketches on paper with pencil. We will be holding a "Designer's Roundtable", in which you will discuss your Human Right that you are illustrating and will demonstrate your three pencil sketch ideas for your poster to the rest of the class. We will, as a group, analyze your ideas and give you some pointers and suggestions, as appropriate. Remember, you must execute your final poster in Photoshop, so only sketch ideas that you know you can execute.

Required Elements of the Poster: Please create your poster to the following specifications:

  • Poster size: 11" x 8 1/2", 300 dpi, RGB color.
  • Program: Photoshop.
  • TEXT: Please include the WORDING of the right that you have selected. You may edit lightly, as needed, for brevity. If your right has multiple parts or sections, you may focus on one single section, if you wish.
  • The ELEMENTS of the poster should be ENTIRELY created or manipulated by the student. It is NOT SUFFICIENT to merely steal a graphic or a photograph off of the internet, throw it in the background and put some text on top of it. The student needs to CREATE this poster.
  • For this project, you NEED TO be demonstrating all of the Photoshop skills that you have learned to date in the course- SHAPES, manipulation of TEXT, MASKING, use of FILTERS, BLENDING MODES, BRUSHES, GRADIENTS, etc. Your use of these techniques will be part of the grading for this project.

Goal of the Poster: Your poster should seize the attention of the viewer and then retain it, provoking or motivating the viewer. It should make the viewer reflect, question, protest, recoil or otherwise react. At its most effective, your poster should promote, encourage or persuade and should be seen as a dynamic force for change. PLEASE NOTE: The "Declaration of Common Rights" is meant to be a UNIVERSAL statement of rights, not targetting a specific country or nationality. Inclusion of specific country symbology (such as American Flags, Statues of Liberty, etc.) should be AVOIDED!

Samples: As this is a common college level graphic design assignment and this poster idea has also been taken up by Amnesty International as a way of spreading the message of Universal Rights, there are lots of poster samples available on the internet. I have selected a few of these for your examination:

Grading: This Midterm Project will worth a total of 200 points,100 points for including all necessary elements to the poster (50 points of this will be demonstration of at least FIVE different Photoshop techniques) and 100 points, based upon Mr. B.'s critical eye, for the aesthetic qualities of the work.