Posters are an effective way to voice concerns, advertise an event, or influence an audience. One of the most visible and longest lasting poster campaigns has been mounted by the Guerrilla Girls, a feminist activist collective who “wear gorilla masks in public and use facts, humor, and outrageous visuals to expose gender and ethnic bias as well as corruption in politics, art, film, and pop culture.” GG formed as an anonymous group of artists (hence the masks) in 1985 to protest the representation of women in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and has been going strong ever since.
Here are 7 reasons to consider using posters to protest injustice or promote your next cause or action:
- Posters can be put up anywhere, anytime. Place them strategically–bathroom stall doors, school bulletin boards, community centers, bus stop waiting shelters, on a street corner–to ensure your message reaches the audience you’re targeting.
- Anyone can make and post them. They can be as simple as a sheet of white paper with words typed in black or cleverly crafted pieces of art. Attracting attention with humor or satire is always a plus.
- Posters can be made in large quantities. If they’re taken down, you can put new ones up.
- They can be anonymous. In fact, anonymity, is a tradition in this form of protest, sometimes to protect the creator and sometimes because it’s more effective to offer a direct, general statement. If a message urgently needs to be spoken, it can be done.
- A poster is a catalyst. Posters get people thinking. They start conversations. A single poster seen by the right people or by just enough people can ignite action.
- A poster is reactive. A poster in response to an issue or announcing an event can be up within the hour–a protest to a change in school dress code policy, an announcement of a quickly planned school walk out, a demand for gender neutral bathrooms. They may be taken down within the day, but because they tap the immediate, they’ve done their job.
- A poster is locally relevant. A poster is created for a certain audience, in a certain location, for a certain reason. The goal isn’t to reach thousands online; you need people to see them and do something here and now.