The final organization we’ll be doing a Q&A with for the Get Out the Vote: Design + Community Project is The League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland.
The League of Women Voters has partnered nationally with AIGA on Get Out the Vote and helped make the Cleveland poster exhibit at the Cleveland State a success.
About The League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
For the Q&A with The League of Women Voters we spoke to co-president, Marcia Goldberg.
Q: What messages around voting do you want to convey to the audiences that you reach?
A: Above all, we want to make sure people realize the importance of voting. That voting does, literally, “shape the future.” That every single eligible voter should cast a ballot so that everyone participates in our democracy. We don’t want anyone to feel that there are impediments to voting that can’t be overcome–you can vote by mail, vote early at the board of elections, or find a ride to the polls on Election Day. Don’t let anything prevent you from voting. We also want you to know who and what’s on your ballot before you vote. We are a nonpartisan organization–we don’t support or oppose candidates or political parties–but we urge everyone to be an educated voter. Learn everything you can about the candidates and study the issues you’ll be voting on.
Q: In what ways do you think design will be able to help you speak to your audience?
A: One of the goals of the League of Women Voters is to urge young voters to learn more about our political system and the inner workings of government. The League has taken strong positions on many public policies, and we’d like more Americans–young and old–to know what they are: our positions, for instance, against the influence of money in politics and for redistricting reform. One way to reach younger voters is to attract their eyes with hip, fun, vibrant, colorful designs like Nolan’s. The verbs we use are active ones–BE a voter, SHAPE the future–and Nolan’s undulating shapes behind the words appear to be active and moving, too.
Q: What made you want to participate in this project?
A: A few League members attended AIGA’s display of Get Out the Vote designs. When we were invited to participate in this project, we were eager to get some design help to reach a larger and, we hope, younger audience. Working with Nolan was also just plain fun–he helped us hone our message while we helped him understand our history and mission.
About Designer Nolan Beck
Nolan loves cats, wine, and hasn’t worn color in over 18 months. Since graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Art, Nolan’s worked for non-profits, start-ups, Fortune 500 companies, and even designed the Cuyahoga County Seal. He served as the Director of Marketing + Communications at Kent State University’s College of Architecture until he decided to start Matter. He has two cats with pretentious German designer names (Mies van der Rohe and Dieter Rams). His goal is to help people connect to their audiences, communicate their stories, and eventually become Claire Underwood.
Q: Did you walk into your first meeting with LWV with any pre-existing notions or ideas of how you might be able to reach their audience?
A: Well, I thought I had an understanding of the League and it’s messages, and I was wrong. My thoughts on the League were more aligned with what I believe the majority’s perception to be, being that the League is primarily a feminist group of liberal political people. That’s not the case. The League’s mission isn’t to persuade anybody to any one side of an argument, it’s to give the public all of the tools and information they need to form their own opinion. So, my gung-ho punk feminist ideas (think pink graffiti lettering and maybe some glitter) were kinda thrown out the window at a point, which is probably great because once you get preachy, the only people you engage are people who already agree with you and you lose the people with whom you actually want to connect.
Q: How did you interpret the message of LWV in one cohesive design/message?
A: My understanding of the League’s vision for America is every citizen being an informed voter. The League is about educating and supporting voters, not persuading them to either side of an issue, which I think is a really beautiful thing and is so rare in today’s antipodal political reality show.
Q: In what ways do you hope your designs might impact the organization’s audience?
A: I think the wording is quite clear. To be a voter is to have a say in the future. Without a vote, you have not participated in the political process, you have skipped out on your chance to have input, and in my opinion you’ve forfeited the right to bitch and kvetch about politics, which would be a shame because there’s a whole lot to bitch and kvetch about.
There’s also a lot to celebrate, mostly the fact that we live in a fantastic country with a political system that allows everyday people to have a say in how their country is run. Your impact, whether it’s voting every four years or canvassing for every election up and down the ticket, literally shapes the future of the country and future generations. So, in that way, I think my designy, art schooly, “these wavy lines stand for form and shape” actually worked out in a non-pretentious way, representing the voting process in an abstract expression.
The colors are sampled from the LWV logo, which is a fun tie in to the organization from which this message emanates.
Q: Did you resonate with the organization in any way or have any close connection that made you excited to work with LWV in particular?
A: Well, I’m a gay biracial guy who’s really into politics. I have a 6 foot wide banner for one of this term’s presidential candidates hanging from the balcony of my bedroom and my birthday present last year was a cardboard cut out of that candidate.
The field of politics is so incredibly critical to every last person in the United States, and frankly the world, and not enough people are involved. People think their vote doesn’t matter and their voice isn’t heard. It’s upsetting to think that in 2012, 45% of eligible voters decided that their say didn’t have an impact worth getting out to vote. That’s awful. That sort of turnout in this election could be disastrous.
When people feel undervalued and not heard (or they’re made to feel that way because gerrymandering and campaign finance and other awful things take away their influence) then you get a whole chunk of the population that’s disinterested or complacent in how their government is run. That’s when it gets dangerous.
So, as a not-straight, not-white, sometimes kind of feminine dude, there is a lot at stake for me in this election, more so for many of my friends. It’s far too important to stay home this year.
TLDR; voting is very important to me, as it should be to you. Get out the vote, y’all.
Thank you to The League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland and Nolan Beck for being a part of this project. There are still more videos, interviews, and photos to come with The League and Nolan so check back on the blog and social media.
Special Thanks to
NEOCH, The League of Women Voters, OCA, Thomas Dang, Nolan Beck, & Aly Dodds