It seems that the ability to hold a grudge is something humanity has trouble letting go. The world is also full of those who like to blame others for their own mistakes, and people fighting in the name of religions that preach peace. Our world is full of conflict, crime, war, and other abuse.
Peace for the world is a cliché topic, but the reason it has been brought up so often, is because it’s one of the major needs for humanity. One of the things that can help bring peace is civility. Civility can also make a large difference on a smaller scale than world peace.
I looked for a message of peace in presidential speeches, and found what I needed in the 1961 John F. Kennedy speech. In it he says, “civility is not a sign of weakness”. This is also a phrase that I closely relate to, because I’ve had my own experiences of having to interact with people who did not like me, and were not civil with me, in spite of the obvious benefit in doing otherwise. I’m sure everyone has a similar story to share.
My next step was to choose a color and a typeface to use for the poster. I started with color by printing color samples from all four choices. I knew that I wanted my color to be either green or blue, because of their peaceful qualities. My decision landed on blue, because it is the color of the clear sky, which in itself is a vast space of peace. It is calming, and it felt like it had a closer connection to my message in comparison to green. I tend to associate green with environmental movements.
In choosing my typeface, I initially failed in doing adequate research, thus making a bad first choice, based only on personal aesthetic preference. I have learned my lesson, and also gained some knowledge from research I performed later in this design process. Credit should also be given to my professor and classmates. The final choice ended up being Caslon, which has a personality of tradition, stability, formality, politeness, maturity, and conformity. All of these are characteristic in the action of civility. It is also nice that the lowercase “i” in Caslon is reminiscent in its form to a person.
Vertical versions of this poster were tried as drafts, but ultimately, a horizontal layout is a better choice. The horizontal layout of the page, and the horizontal positioning of the text, reinforce the understanding that civility, or the act of being civil; requires one to be calm, well grounded or stable in their behavior, and the ability not to cross set borders. This is also the reason why the text in this composition allows for spacious borders on all four sides.
Finally, I would like to talk about the extra copy of text from the speech. I wanted to use it in a practical, meaningful way. I wanted it to have a purpose other than for decoration or aesthetic effects in this composition. After many failed drafts, several possible good solutions, and help from classmates, I decided to use it to convey a sense of weakness or breakdown of the word “weakness” in my message. This adds a graphic element to the message. It also provides variety, and an interesting visual element to the poster.