ARTICLE: Political & Social Graphic Design

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The U.S. saw its largest public demonstration, with more than 250,000 participants, during the March on Washington rally on August 28,1963. Civil Rights activists created vivid promotional designs to achieve the March on Washington’s massive turnout. These designs were featured on just about everything, from the sides of buses, to pamphlets to activists wearing the advertisements.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech touched countless lives as the words fell from his lips that day. The engaging speech rippled throughout the country, challenging perceptions, demanding equality and initiating change. Decades later, we still cherish his words.

Civil rights activists recognized the importance of tying socially conscious design into their publicity efforts. They pushed to create visual elements that aligned with their message of promoting social change and ending Jim Crow, and without these activists’ efforts in planning civil rights protests, rallies, sit-ins, and successfully marketing those events, U.S. history would have followed a different path and social equality would have been significantly delayed.

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