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Lessons in the Language of the Suffrage

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Design +1 Age Levels Post-Secondary, Adults

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19th Amendment: 

Women’s Right to Vote

Passed by Congress June 4, 1919. Ratified August 18, 1920

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


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2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. 

The suffrage movement of the mid-nineteenth century, recognized today as the first wave of “feminism,” continues to influence and inspire the ongoing struggle for women’s rights. Many of the methods and strategies of our early pioneers serve not only as inspiration, but, as a model for effective communication that is still relevant today. 

“Man was given an eye for an ear.” 
  — Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage

The pioneers of the suffrage understood the power of the visual message. Their use of color, branded collateral, such as badges, banners, ribbons, and the promotion of their political messages, through the traditional means of posters and postcards, drew attention and created a precedent for protesting copied around the world by other political movements, including today. 

These pioneering women used simple language and ‘conversations’ in an attempt to educate people about the injustices of the legal system. These messages were often hand generated in a vernacular manner. The poster, in particular, proved informative, accessible, and an effective medium for the dramatization of a specific point of view. 

This collection serves as a brief visual research of language and methods of communication of the suffrage. Through a formal and conceptual investigation of hierarchy and composition using the timely messages of the suffrage, students will explore the process and historical method of poster making, the letterpress printing process. 


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DESCRIPTION/PURPOSE: 

Students will explore the vocabulary of the Women’s Voting Rights Movement through a series of typographic letterpressed permutations. Students will identify and explore themes that are different, as well as those that have remained the same for any disenfranchised individuals in the United States. 

Each student is to choose one of the quotes provided in the presentation or find a relevant quote of the time. This will serve as the content for the typographic studies. Depending on the students’ concept for the poster, additional research and text may be required. 


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PHASE 1: Typographic Interpretations

Design a poster representing one of the historic statements of the suffrage. Your poster can remind people of the amendment’s original purpose and importance and/or raise awareness about a particular issue related to the amendment. There are plenty of high profile issues in the news now that directly relate this amendment. Your audience is college students.

“ All typefaces serve fundamentally the same purpose: to communicate. The purpose behind the communication –
  for 
example, to inform, to entertain, or to persuade – is expressed, in part, by the typeface chosen. As the
  communication 
objectives change, so might the typeface.”   – Willi Kunz


Typographic Process and Checklist

1      review content – reading/understanding.

2      search for inherent structure/patterns/rhythms within the text.

3      develop preliminary plans for hierarchical structures.

4      sketches – create quick but meaningful “road maps” of your thoughts.

5      develop concepts of “center and support” configurations.  

6      construct preliminary, secondary & tertiary alignments.

7      form constellations that house sub-thoughts within the text (grouping info.).

8      consider/reconsider overall composition while thinking about “activating the edge.”

9      play against the viewer’s expectations.

10    legibility (clarity and efficiency in reading) vs. readability (pleasure and interest in reading)– Willi Kunz 


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PHASE 2: Type & Image Interpretations

Learning Objectives:

+ Integrate text + image using the four methods described in the book Type, Image, Message by Skolos + Wedell
+ Recognize the design opportunities that come with using type as an image


Type, Image, Message by Skolos + Wedell
Separation, Fusion, Fragmentation & Inversion

Separation – when the type & image operate independently. Reinforce messages. Type spaces & image spaces.

Fusion – when the type and image blend to form a unit. Type & image connected by perspective—blend 2 plus things that aren’t usually associated. Conceptually connected. Political or poetic statement. Metaphor

Fragmentation – when the type & image disturb or disrupt each other. Torn, divided, uneven, disparate. Scale, color, complication. Unpredictable, random, animated, energized message.

Inversion – form of fusion when type & image trade places & the type takes on pictorial properties or the image takes on type qualities. Harmonious. Type as photo, or hyper-realistic. Letters as frames for images.


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DELIVERABLES

• Two 14 by 17 inch letterpressed posters. One typographic solution. One type and image solution.
• Printed in 2- 3 color
• Quote selected must be included (but does not need to be the primary read)


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Brenda McManus
Assistant Professor  | Art Department | Pace University-NYC   

Co-Founder
BRED | a collaborative design lab
www.brednation.com
Instagram: bred_letterpress


 

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AlicePaul.jpg

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Alice Paul with Suffrage Banner, 1920

National Museum of American History

Photograph: Suffragist with banner

National Museum of American History

Photograph: Lucy Branham with Banner

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Answer Banner

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Objection Banner

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage "Objection" Banner

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage "Answer" Banner

National Museum of American History

Women of Rhode Island

National Museum of American History

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Brenda McManus

Inez Milholland Pageant Poster, 1924

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Postcard

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Postcard

National Museum of American History

Votes for Women

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Cartoon, "Out in the Coid"

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Postcard

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Postcard

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Postcard

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Postcard

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Postcard

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Postcard

National Museum of American History

Shoulder to Shoulder

National Museum of American History

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Brenda McManus

National Woman’s Suffrage Congressional Union Flag

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Flag

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Postcard, 1911

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Postcard

National Museum of American History

Votes for Women Pin

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Button, 1911

National Museum of American History

pin, stick pin

National Museum of American History

Button, “Votes for Women”

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Button

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Button

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Button

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Button

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Button

National Museum of American History

Women's Political Union Button

National Museum of American History

Button, Votes for Women

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Button

National Museum of American History

button

National Museum of American History

Button, "Give Women the Vote"

National Museum of American History

Jailed for Freedom Pin (Lucille Angiel Calmes)

National Museum of American History

"Silent Sentinel" Pin (Amelia Himes Walker)

National Museum of American History

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Brenda McManus

Woman Suffrage Fan

National Museum of American History

I am for a Constitution and Equal Rights

National Museum of American History

I am an American Citizen

National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage Stamp, 1915

National Museum of American History

6c Woman Suffrage single

National Postal Museum

50c Susan B. Anthony single

National Postal Museum

50c Lucy Stone single

National Postal Museum

32c Woman Suffrage single

National Postal Museum

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drawing

National Museum of American History

SusanBAnthony_Coin.jpg

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Vote Power

National Museum of American History

Women in Government

National Museum of American History

Poster for VOTE

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Your Vote Makes A Difference

National Museum of American History

Vote

National Museum of American History

ERA YES

National Museum of American History