Social Pastiche


Pin Vo, 2019: Using Russian Constructivism to symbolically "present the poverty of the peasant society" to expose wealth inequality that defines classism in the United States

Nhan Phan, 2019: Using post post-modern or contemporary digital methods to expose plastic pollution

Alex Cruz, 2019: Using post-modernism and punk aesthetic to comment on the systemic failure of elected leadership

Brianna Ostronic, 2019: Employing the ideals of Dada to comment on "fast fashion" as social decadence caused by the destructive impact of technological "progress"

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Duration: 2 weeks
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Project Brief

Design a poster that is a pastiche of a historical design movement. Next, choose a current social, cultural or political topic and clearly communicate it using the historical design style. Finished designs should be inspired by the social, cultural or political ideologies of the historical design movement.


  • Define meanings for pastiche and poster
  • Research design history to identify and investigate movements stylistically: typography, colors, composition, etc.
  • Define an event, topic or idea that correlates modern social ideology with the historical design movement
  • Develop sketches exploring contextual meaning of graphic and style elements
  • Create, refine and present final conceptual design

Learning Objectives

  • Enhance understanding of ideologies that underpin historical design movements
  • Create functional communication combining conceptual interpretation and practical application
  • Develop literature review and research skills to implement objective interpretation of subject matter


Full-Color Poster


This is an on-going project that I have done at multiple institutions. Generally, this project is done with first-year students that are exploring their new relationship with graphic design. A culmination of their course work, this project combines formal exploration, secondary research and conceptual communication.

With each project attempt, I am inspired by how students can transpose ideological issues from the past and connect them with topics that they find timely, important and necessary to communicate. This method allows learners to observe a method and process inherent to their personal design agency.

This project strength, is also a challenge for many young designers. Some learners may not be inclined to have specific cultural awareness. And, some learners are challenged by the idea that their opinion and contribution to social discourse is vital. To overcome these challenges, develop and curate trust through open discussions about the power of social discourse.

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