Stand Up

Three social justice movements. Three time periods, three places, three unique circumstances. And yet the Mothers of De Plazo, Black Lives Matter, and Chibok’s Bring Back Our Girls all share one united voice against injustice and cruelty. This exhibition poster series seeks to highlight the impact each of these movements made in the world.
Each of these movements stood up against blatant injustice, refusing to accept any excuse for the crimes committed against their loved ones. They would not be silenced by systems rooted in inequity and demanded accountability for their oppressors. In their eyes, there was no valid defense—the crimes committed were inexcusable.

Studio Project
Design Research & Poster System Design
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Movement Research

Black Lives Matter A prominent social justice movement that emerged in response to the tragic death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who lost his life during an encounter with law enforcement in 2020. This movement passionately advocates for an end to racial discrimination and police brutality, seeking justice for Floyd and countless other Black individuals who have suffered similar injustices. 

Mothers of De PlazoA resilient human rights movement from Argentina, was born out of the heartbreaking forced disappearances of their children during the nation's military dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s. Fueled by grief and unwavering determination, these mothers dedicate themselves to seeking answers, justice, and accountability for the grave atrocities committed against their beloved offspring.
Chibok’s Bring Back Our Girls
A global movement that gained attention following the abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria, by the extremist group Boko Haram in 2014. This movement's primary mission is to raise awareness and demand the safe return of these girls while shedding light on the ongoing challenges faced by women and girls in conflict zones. They tirelessly advocate for the freedom of the abducted girls.

Analysis & Brainstorming
An important piece of this project was finding common ground between the three movements. In my research, I looked for elements reflected in all three while also breaking down what makes each movement unique. 

I began by experimenting with type, using a scanner and photography to distort words to mimic some of the themes and emotions that emerged in my research.

Scanner Experiments

Photography Experiments

Sketching & Digital Iteration
Using the experiments as a stepping stone, I then began sketching some conceptual directions before moving on to digital exploration.


Digital Exploration

Happy Accidents
While experimenting, I was working in a very dense file that was taking a toll on my computer’s performance. At one point, I was trying to move some words and the lag kept leaving fragments of the letterforms behind. I realized that this glitch perfectly embodied the chaos of the crimes committed and embraced it as a tool moving forward.

Iteration 1
In the first iteration, I began breaking the boundaries of the letterforms, alluding to the physical acts of injustice and trying to evoke the tension and emotional strain of the events.
Black Lives Matter
Chibok’s Bring Back Our Girls
Mothers of De Plazo

Iteration 2
In the next iteration, I built on the first while refining my concept, this time evoking newspaper-like qualities through typography and texture, showing how each group stood in opposition to the news headlines. This direction was closer, but felt a bit too pristine, lacking the feeling of unhinged mayhem that the original possessed.

Final Design
The final direction, titled “No Excuses”, combined and refined the previous two. Each poster’s background is made up of a list of excuses made by the media, the oppressors, the government, the naysayers—anyone who denied the obvious. Breaking free from the underlying system of excuses are the cries of each group, demanding accountability.

The jarring distortion of the letters visually describes the crimes committed and paints a picture of the chaos and disorder inflicted on the victims. Each poster tells an intricate story of blatant violation, of determined resistance against these violent actions, and of a united voice refusing to accept ignorant injustice against loved ones.

© 2024 Micah Shannon