Saturday, October 22, 2016

Presidential Campaign Designs

Ever since I took the Visual Culture & Studio Practice class from UNK as part of my Master's program, I've been thinking about assignments that could come up in election seasons. With this year's presidential election generating crazy amounts of animosity, I thought it would be good to try to avoid drama in my classroom and get students to think about the actual qualities they would want in their ideal candidate, instead of their name or political party. My computer graphics class seemed like a good place to tackle presidential campaign designs.

Besides the big ideas of reading images and thinking about political issues and character traits instead of labels, I also wanted students to see the difference between logos and posters, because a lot of people tend to make logos that have way too much going on in the design! We did a critique toward the end of the assignment and gave suggestions to several students on how to correct that mistake.
Is Harambe a "thing" at your school like he is at mine?
The lesson plan is below, and you can also "keep" it on the smARTteacher. The slides presentation, planning sheet, and rubric are linked at the very bottom.

Katie Morris
Jackson Heights High School

Lesson Title: Presidential Campaign Design Package

Rationale: This lesson is intended to teach students graphic design principles, how to visually communicate a message, and how to “read” images in our visual culture.

Essential Questions: How do images affect us? How do you read an image? What is the goal of a campaign poster? How can we design images to communicate a message?

  1. The students will discuss a variety of campaign posters from the past & present.
  2. The students will evaluate the effectiveness of campaign package designs- logos, posters, and websites.
  3. The students will brainstorm qualities they would want in an ideal presidential candidate and the opposites.
  4. The students will create a campaign package including a logo and poster that communicates the qualities they would want in a president.
  5. The students will participate in peer critiques about their work.
  6. The students will write an artist statement explaining their idea and purposes for their design choices.
  7. Optional: The students will work in groups to plan, direct, act in, and edit a campaign ad for a made up presidential candidate.

Procedure: This lesson is estimated to take 10 class periods, or more if the students create a video.
Day 1: The teacher will start with a disclaimer that though we will be discussing political ads, we will focus on the design choices and what they communicate, not making negative comments about politicians we don’t agree with. Discussions should be respectful and on-topic.
The class will view a slides presentation featuring different campaign ads, historic and modern. They will discuss design elements and what/how they communicate. What do the designs communicate about what kind of president they would be?
Next, students will brainstorm a list of qualities they look for or would want in an ideal candidate, as well as their opposites. The class will share their thoughts and discuss. The teacher will explain the assignment: design a campaign package- logo, poster, possibly a website (blog), and video- for someone who is NOT currently a politician. The idea is to focus more on the ideas about what would make a good president instead of on a real person. The poster designs could be sincere or satirical- using the opposite of the good qualities to poke fun or make a point.  The teacher will remind students of the differences between a logo and a poster. A logo is much simpler and more versatile. The logo could be used on a t-shirt, bumper sticker, website, poster, anything that will brand the campaign. The logo should be incorporated into the poster design.
The students will brainstorm ideas using the planning sheet, sketch, and begin.
Days 2-6: Student work time. The teacher will circulate to check progress and help troubleshoot.
Day 7: The students will participate in a peer critique. Each student will share their progress and consider the feedback of others in the class.
Days 8 & 9: Student work time.
Day 10: When the students are finished they will self-assess with a rubric and write an artist statement.
Later: The teacher will set up a display of the printed posters. The class will view and discuss the exhibit. The teacher will ask how the display could affect the students in school who see it.

National Visual Arts Standards

I can use contemporary practices to plan and make art or design about an aspect of present-day life.

I can examine, reflect on, and plan revisions for works of art and design in progress by applying relevant criteria.

I can discuss how an exhibition can impact awareness of social, cultural, and political beliefs and understandings.

I can analyze how visual imagery can affect understanding of the world.

Assessment: The students will self assess using a rubric. Their scores will be combined with the teacher’s scores for the final grade.

Slides presentation:

Planning sheet:


1 comment:

  1. Love this, Katie. It's perfect for this election where the election is so heated and ugly. Did you see the latest Scholastic Arts magazine? It is all about campaign posters.