A How-To Guide

Find your subject/find inspiration.

  • Did you read about something that stuck with you? Can you not get it out of your head?
  • What do you want to talk about? Why? Do you want to have a certain reach?
    • Do you want to have an event go alongside your poster?
      • Opinion editorial, public forum, discussion, film screening
      • Did you see something recently that you wanted to replicate because it was that cool?
      • Ex: I saw Ryan Conrad’s “Down Is Not Up” poster online and was immediately struck by several things: the brevity, the ideas, the format. I have always been interested in reproductive justice. Put a reproductive justice spin on Conrad’s poster — a perfect match.

 How are you going to write it?

  • Make a list of issues you want to bring in
  • Write sentences about each of the issues
    • Don’t worry if they don’t flow well or if they’re too long; you will revise later
    • If you’re stuck, look at something from which you’re taking inspiration. Use their format until you come up with something more suited, or keep their format.
      • This may require asking permission from an artist. Email them. You might be surprised with their response.
        • Ex: I emailed Conrad about potentially using a sentence of his in our campaign. I attached my draft, and he responded within 10 minutes, giving us permission and wishing me luck.
        • Once you have your first draft, send that thing out for revisions. Do not get too attached to your first draft, but do have an idea of what you absolutely want/do not want.
          • Ex: Something I absolutely wanted to hold to was not to involve sentences that were too confusing, left the reader at a complete loss. I wanted to make sure they would know what to Google later.

 Where are you going to put the posters?

  • Two questions:
    • Where do you want to put them?
      • Do you think they would benefit from a certain location?
        • Ex: We put up a lot of our posters by the chemistry building because
          • High-traffic area
          • I’m not sure how many science majors take the classes I do — maybe it’d be a fresh perspective.
  • Where are you allowed to put them?
    • Will there be a lot of trouble if you don’t abide by rules?
      • Look up your school/city code on vandalism/graffiti/permission art.
        • Look up fines/penalties.
        • Can you talk to a lawyer for free?
          • Ex: UCSB provides free legal consultations for students.

How will you print them?

  • If you don’t want to fund your own project, look for free printing services.
    • Ex: At UCSB, each student gets 300 pages of free printing at on campus printing centers. You can combine your printing and a friend’s.
    • Oftentimes, on-campus printing services (A.S. Publications) will offer a highly discounted price.
    • If you want to acquire funding:
      • To which group will you propose?
        • Look up an organization’s mission statement, and write your proposal so that it aligns with the organization’s objectives/ideology.
        • Explain how it will benefit the community/students.
        • See if the organization has their funding request online.
          • Give a detailed estimate of how much money you will require.
            • Provide a cost list (ex: print out prices for Kinko’s/A.S. Publications)

 Print them.

  • If you have acquired funding, make sure you have all your documentation/information.
    • Ex: At UCSB, if you have funding and are printing at A.S. Publications, you will need the following information:
      • Account number, Start Balance, PO #, Balance, Department, Ordered By, Name of Project (flyer, poster, etc.)
        • If you do not know your balance, you will have to go to the A.S. Admin Office (second floor of MultiCultural Center) and fill out a request form, answering why you need the information.
          • The earliest they say they will get back to you is by the end of the day. Give yourself time.
          • Color printers are often on the fritz. Call ahead and ask.

Put them up.

  • Print out a map of your targeted area.
    • Circle where you want to go. Can you divvy up the distribution?
    • Do you have enough tape? Scissors?
      • Is the adhesive strong enough for whichever surface?
        • But will it leave a mark/destroy wallpaper?
        • Is there security where you’ll be going?
        • When will you be doing this?
          • Daytime is less suspicious, but people will see and it’ll be easier to point you out or be stopped.
          • After dark is suspicious, but there will be fewer distractions/onlookers.
            • But look out for security.
              • Ex: At UCSB, CSOs stop patrolling at 3.
    • Have fun! Remember that being an activist can also mean finding joy in what you do and the ideas you engage in.


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