Save the Arts


Sammy Choy, Art Director
Brittany Cozzens, Designer

Olivia Kenney, Art Director
Rachel Jenkins, Designer

Jordan Schellinkhout, Art Director
Maureen Healy, Designer

Zakhia Johnson, Art Director
Briana Edwards, Designer

Dionna Scott, Art Director
Rachel Wu, Designer

Level: , ,
Duration: 3 weeks
Filed Under: , , , ,
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Project Brief

The role of the Art Director is one of creative leadership within a collaborative industry. An Art Director must not only have a vision, but be able to communicate that vision to a team. An Art Director must play well with others. 

Students will work in pairs to concept and design two separate and unique posters. Each student will fill the role of Art Director on one poster, and Graphic Designer on the other. Students should feel ownership and responsibility for BOTH posters. Students should brainstorm two ideas together and then divide and conquer according to the skillsets of those involved. Each student should demonstrate the ability to contribute creative leadership and support in execution.

Advertise the importance of the arts. We’re talking music, painting, photography, dance, poetry, theater, you name it. Create a poster around saving your local opera, buying mp3s legally as opposed to sharing them with a friend, or campaigning for more arts programs in schools (just a few examples—use your imagination!) Pose any number of questions, general or specific. Why do we need art? In our lives, in our schools? Why should we pay for it? What does art make us feel? Can art change the world for the better? 

Your project objective is to emotionally connect with and move the audience. Turn heads. Catch eyes. Melt hearts. Blow minds. Get under their skin. Make them feel something.* 


  • K.I.S.S. or Keep It Simple, Stupid.
  • Communicate visually, with few words. Or communicate verbally, using typography, with few other visuals.
  • Keep it positive. Create something inspirational rather than bleak. 
  • Follow the rules, unless it works to break them.


Meeting 1: Brainstom Session. You don’t want to attend a brainstorm meeting empty handed. Research shows that the best brainstorming sessions are had when the participants have been given notice and have spent time actively pondering the problem in advance of the brainstorm session.

You must prepare TWO DIFFERENT ARTS TOPICS. Students must prepare the below in advance of their first brainstorm session with their partners by completing the following for two different topics:

  • Research. Find two articles (from reputable sources) per topic that discuss the value of the arts or issues that the arts face. Bring print outs of the articles with noteworthy facts or passages highlighted. Prepare articles for a minimum of two different arts topics.
  • Sketches. Come with a sketchbook filed with verbal and visual thoughts. Mind map concepts related to both of your selected topics. Make sketches of preliminary visual ideas or poster ideas.
  • Moodboards. Compose a minimum of mood board per topic of visual styles that inspire you. Suggested resources can be found below in Project Readings + Resources.

Meeting 2: Group Crit–Roughs

Meeting 3: Group Crit–Roughs

Meeting 4: Group Crit–Refined

Meeting 5: Final Deadline


*Project adapted from an old One Club Young Ones competition brief.

Learning Objectives

  • Practice creative collaboration, and prepare for professional roles of support and leadership.
  • Learn to use the plotter to print large format.
  • Develop image-making skill.


  • 16 in x 20 in high-resolution PDF
  • Actual size poster printed using the plotter


Curator’s Talk: Ellen Lupton on How Posters Work (video lecture)

Graphis Poster Annuals Archives

"The Radical Design Archive Preserving 100 Years of Political Graphics" on AIGA Eye on Design

Typo/graphic posters website




My students are Art Direction Track, Advertising Majors. I have assigned this project as their final project in Art Direction 1. I find pairing them up to be very productive. They turn to each other, instead of relying on me.

I struggle with to get some partners to feel equally invested in both posters. Some partners cling to a my poster/her poster mentality, instead of embracing our posters.

I am afforded only three hours of contact each week. I have assigned this project with both three and four week timelines. However, with such limited contact hours the product suffered under a three-week timeline.

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