History by design: Elizabeth Resnick at TEDxAmoskeagMillyard

July 26, 2019 posted by



hello how many of you remember being 15 years old and what you were thinking about when you were 15 years old I can that's me I'm 15 years old and it's almost 50 years ago I was photographed in the tenth grade in the yard at the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan I was so fortunate to be accepted at one of these specialized schools in New York and I knew and you could see it on my face I knew that I was really starting to move toward where I thought I wanted to go at that time I was studying I was in tenth grade and I was studying fashion illustration and graphic design like many young girls interested in fashion I had a brief flirtation with modeling I'm 16 years old in these pictures but very fortunately I love drawing more much of the work I did at the High School of Art and Design and as a teenager was lost as my parents moved quite frequently and unfortunately they weren't packrats but what did survive on the left were some ink sketches that I made for the French American student it was a newspaper and it survived in my scrapbook and then on the right that's actually illustration I made from a photograph about that time so it shows you the kind of skill set that I did acquire at the high school of art and design although I was accepted at Pratt Institute I am new york-based I knew it would be best for me if I attended an art school that was away from my family these two photographs are very interesting for me I'm really glad that they survived the one on the left shows me maybe in October of 1966 and I'm just entering Rhode Island School of Design and you can see I'm still that young fashionista but by the end of my freshman year and that other picture was taken in 1967 I had absolutely transformed into a 60s art school student who shopped mainly at the local army-navy store what should have been an idyllic time an idyllic college experience really turned into a very tense and uncertain time because it was the time of the Vietnam War and it was escalating our classmates our boyfriends our brothers they were all being drafted against their will turning the boomer generation into activists protesting an unjust war much of the graphic design work I admired from this time were anti-war posters and civil rights activist posters and who could ignore the power of this poster and what it represented to the youth of our country this this poster was published in 1970 but it shows the 1968 photograph of the My Lai massacre my generation was getting angrier as it seemed that there was no resolve in this conflict and then on May 4th 1970 Ohio National Guardsmen marched on to the campus of Kent State and walked right into a student-led protests and opened fired killing for students and wounding nine this senseless act led to a student strike that forced hundreds of colleges around the country to close Rhode Island School of Design was one of these colleges RISD students flocked into the printmaking studios and the letterpress labs there was no computers in those days to make posters and bumper stickers that were used for the May 9th march on Washington here you can see one of my classmates wilt ne he is participating in a protest march in Providence carrying posters that we made at that time after two weeks the strike was over and my classmates and I prepared to graduate right into a recession thanks to a recruiting session that I attended in the spring of 1970 I was offered a job at Hallmark cards in Kansas City Missouri and I went down to work in their creative lettering department and this is the kind of work that I made although I only lasted seven months in that very strict corporate environment it was not a good suit for me I made very good future use of the skill set I did acquire at Hallmark and so I was in great demand in when I landed up in Boston making logos and letter heads and also doing lots and lots of greeting cards including one in New Hampshire creative cards after my seven months in Kansas City I returned to New York City and I took a job at Adelson and Eichinger they were a two-person design studio primarily serving the publishing industry they were located only a few blocks away from the United Nations I made many many book covers at this time and I used my illustrative lettering skills as you could see to great advantage also I don't know if you can notice this but there is a picture of a very liberated angry woman in the picture of the banjo guess who that is so I also collected a models fee as well in the summer of 1972 I took a job as a crafts counselor at the shaker village work group a teenage work program that occupied historic shaker land in buildings in New Lebanon New York I met my future husband there Victor was hired to teach the teens shaker folk songs I am actually if you could pick me out I think I'm like fourth or fifth and toward the front row and Victor's got that big fro in the back that was an important summer you could see the transformation after the summer I followed Victor back to Cambridge Massachusetts where he lived commune style with other like-minded musicians I joined the group as their designated graphic designer during that time I built up my freelance business working for the Animal Rescue League of Boston the illustrations here were done by a student later on one of my students Richard Sullivan and then store 24 which I don't know exists anymore but store 24 built up a huge build business in Boston in the 70s it was a 24-hour convenience store that often catered to the counterculture and as you could see in some of these ads it was directed for your munchies at 3:00 a.m. it was great fun these illustrations were done by my classmates Andrew and Marcia Perlmutter in 1977 two great life events happened for me I was hired by Seba Corning Diagnostics corporation as a consultant designer working directly with Robert Potts who at that time was the head of design worldwide I did many packaging and corporate communications and also this relationship lasted over 20 years so it was really important relationship for me but most important I was hired as a permanent half-time faculty member at Massachusetts College of Art at that time it's now Massachusetts College of Art and Design the name changed about ten years ago at mass art I found both a home and a career direction mass art is very important it is the only public college or actually to university is the only public university of Art and Design in our country what does that mean that means that the students of Massachusetts pay in-state rates it's a very affordable Art and Design College and those students who come from upper New England pay a lesser rate so it's a very affordable College for people who want to study art and design when I chained and trained in graphic design at RISD in the 1960s designers were essentially servants of business designers were given assignments where the content and the contact was fixed the copy was written and the designer was challenged to actually give it the form and this is an important statement for me because it really guides me to what I went on to do later designers have both the opportunity and the responsibility to model and promote behavior that we want to see in the world in the late 1970s I began to write design curriculum that mirrored my interest in advocacy and in design authorship I was given the opportunity to publish my book introduction to graphic design it was a curriculum it was a 10-step curriculum that they turned into a ten chapter book each chapter was an assignment and the one that I'm showing you right at the moment that's the vegetable poster so in assignment nine the vegetable poster the goal of the assignment was to introduce children and encourage children primarily ages six to nine to eat more vegetables I have raised two children I know how difficult it is to get children to eat their vegetables all of the examples by the way that you will see in these early posters are made with cut paper and hand lettering there was no Photoshop there was no computers at this time all of the posters that I'm going to show you in this first set also are done by sophomore-level graphic design students to just give you an idea of the talent that that is at the college in her poster nancy Pettibone suggests the versatility of preparing zucchini here Cassie Lee plays on a child's fantasy world where asparagus stalks could be also a medieval castle and who wouldn't love Margo her ominous humor in depicting sunbathing hot chili peppers these were meant to go into the classroom and to be on the wall so students could see them on on a daily basis and be inspired by them and perhaps not be so fearful in trying out different vegetables assignment 10 in this book was called the country poster the challenge here was to have students choose a country and interpret the feeling design and color of that country graphically the only copy that they were allowed to use was the actual name of the country and that should also be in TOR they were challenged to have it integrated into the composition in Carroll Gregor's poster the shadows cast from the camels crossing the Sahara Desert spell out Morocco again all cut paper in Judith Anthony's poster the name of the country Haiti is woven into the woman's basket students here took the opportunity of making political statements and when this started to happen I got very excited this is really what I wanted to have happen with these assignments this poster by James Edwards was made during the Iran civil war that ended with a Shah of Iran's regime that's that's Khomeini kasi Lee creates a masterful portrait of labor activist lek Forenza Pope Poland's solidarity leader who worked tirelessly to free Poland from communist rule in the 1970s and 80s and here Philip Rivas designs a dramatic visualization of apartheid in the republic of south africa these were done in the late 70s in 2003 i published my second book it was a collection of 42 graphic design and typography assignments that were written by college educators to teach the fundamental concepts and techniques and illustrated only with student work in chapter 6 which i called visual advocacy i showcase my thinking and creating assignments that challenged design students to think beyond the needs of business and commerce one assignment was titled human rights advocacy poster students were given a copy of the united nations 19:48 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and asked to choose one of the rights to visualize in a poster and also asked to choose a right that they felt particularly connected to rita Ferrara who you see I have a picture of her during her critique she chooses right sixteen to comment on illegal immigration all people deserve the right to peacefully obtain basic human necessities in times of dire need including food water and basic shelter even if it violates the law another interpretation for right sixteen done by Stacey Thompson advocates for the homeless Kelsey Bouchard chose right 21 all people deserve the right to express themselves freely as long as that expression does not physically hurt others Nicole Jackson chooses right three all people deserve the right to be free from persecution or discrimination based on any physical feature or quality including race gender disability age sexual orientation or any other physical feature or aspect here the student advocates for gender preference as you can see there are two women in another assignment brief that I set each fall to my junior graphic design students is titled the visual advocacy poster series in this assignment students are challenged to pick up a subject that they are most passionate about once they've identified the subject they do the research they determine the appropriate conceptual direction and they produce not one poster not one brilliant poster but they have to produce three equally brilliant posters as part of a series to inform and power and educate their target constituency that would most be beneficial to the message Joe cricketer targets teenagers and advocates that they should protect themselves against AIDS as they would normally protect themselves for other activities say a Kohan moto advocates to her peers that every small action can be meaningful toward saving our resources unfortunately young people as many of us know many parents know do not become fully aware and of how having to save resources until they have to pay their own utility bills and then they learn Stacey Thompson tackles domestic violence with this poster series targeted to families of those affected by the violence I want to read the captions because I don't know whether you can see them on screen on the left the poster reads commitment for better or for worse notice where the bruises it's on her ring finger the middle poster strength I got myself into this domestic violence victims truly believe that they are deserving of this maltreatment and the one on the right comfort he said he was sorry again domestic violent victims truly believe that they are the ones at fault and we need to change that perception check them handle them and squeeze them colleen venerable uses yuma to encourage women to check their breasts for lumps this poster series was designed to be placed in the Boston area subway cars Erika Sullivan speaks directly to parents to remind them that they play a significant role in their child's journey through reading look at these posters the parent is in the background it's directed to parents so that they know that it's not the teachers that they have to rely on that they to have to play a part in encouraging their child's imagination and Jessie to burrow targets young teenagers using comic book heroes that advocate the use of condoms in saving lives I am way over time so in the fall of 2008 my my class worked with Robert Brown at Kirkwood printing company and William in Willington Massachusetts and at that time Kirkwood printing around a promotion a calendar promotion and I had proposed a calendar on sustainability and so I will go through this really quickly it was based on 12 terms of sustainability and therefore each page was a term or each month was a term here he presents to my class and also brainstorming sessions is what we need to do to begin the work as well as having weekly critiques so here Tegan Doucet uses this assignment to encourage us to restore by composting reused by cutting down our use of plastic bags revise our thinking about our use of water bottles and Riaan Reed Hannon also works with the same terms but he wants to restore our planet's health we use Prada of objects to keep them out of landfills and revise our thinking about creating alternative energy sources and Rita Ferrara illustrates her concepts with simple hand gestures to reduce your negative impact on the environment respect your impact on the environment and rethink your impact on the environment design is a very powerful tool for shaping the world and for how we live in it thank you you

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