Why Wait Until October 14th? Rock the Vote On Your Coffee Run.
Goal & Audience:
Create awareness among college students at The New School by promoting a local “Rock the Vote” campaign about the upcoming October 14th NY State voter registration deadline, and show how easy it is to register online using their smartphones in the time that it takes for them to grab a cup of coffee or order lunch.
The easiest way is to register online on sites like MTV’s Rock the Vote, where the registration form is already on their homepage on www.rockthevote.com. In the time that it takes to wait in line for coffee or take a break to eat their lunch, a young person will have already done something productive by registering online using their smartphones.
Design & Process:
It was a challenge trying to come up with ideas for a media campaign that targets millennial audiences to register to vote. At first, I thought of creating stickers or posters to cover up existing street murals in popular neighborhoods frequented by millennials in New York City, such as Soho, Williamsburg, and Bushwick. However, as I thought about developing possible design concepts for this project, I thought it might be too ambitious to target all of these neighborhoods at once. My main struggle was trying to create a concept for each street mural, as each mural is an individual work of art that would need its own individual design strategy to pull off a cohesive media campaign about voter registration.
Then I thought about my own habits as a millennial and as a graduate student at The New School, as well as my dependence on coffee to help me get through the workweek. I almost always check my phone to scroll through my messages or click on online articles I find via social media while waiting in line to order coffee or food and while sitting in the seating areas of the school cafeteria and at cafes. Sometimes I’d look up and look around at my surroundings, not looking for anything in particular, but I would occasionally see a large poster for an event that might catch my eye if the posters are displayed near where I am sitting and are not covered by other flyers.
Finally, I decided to create a local “Rock the Vote” ad campaign for The New School since most millennials are already familiar with MTV and to be displayed in high foot-traffic areas hung around the University Center cafeteria and the cafes in the other buildings. I used the university’s branded font (called “Neue”) to reinforce a sense of school community, as well as to also echo the solid black “Rock the Vote” font. Similar types of campaigns can be done on other college campuses and communities, using the specific school’s branding kits if MTV decides to take a grassroots approach and spread awareness on a local level.
I chose the photo in the final design because the rule of thirds provides a perspective that allows the viewer to immediately see the connection between using one’s smartphone and ordering coffee. The proximity of the iPhone and the coffee up also strengthens this visual association. I added the question “Why Wait Until October 14th?”—with the words “Why Wait” in red—to show that you can easily register to vote right now on your phone. Making the font color for the words “Register Now” also appear in red at the bottom also strengthens the immediacy of “Why Wait” and provides a call to action. I also chose to make the words for “on your coffee run” appear similar to the Rock the Vote logo by using the bold version of the “Neue” font and leaving the color as black. Aligning the copy on the left side provides a balanced area alignment in terms of visual weight in relation to the iPhone and coffee cup on the right side of the poster.
At first, I didn’t really know what I wanted the posters to look like. Should I take a minimalist design approach? Should I use icons? Should I use photography?
Here’s an early draft of my previous attempt, using a free vector icon of a ballot box and a play on the “OK, but first coffee” meme that I would see on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I also wasn’t sure how to tie in my idea of making people see the association between millennial voters and coffee. Since the message wasn’t coming across, I had to scrap this idea and start from scratch again.
Here’s another draft, this time using photography. However, the connection between registering to vote and ordering coffee wasn’t being expressed clearly in this stock photo, either. After deciding to scrap this idea as well, I decided to choose another photo and eventually found the photo that you see in the final design.
The New School University Center Cafeteria
Eugene Lang Cafe
- The “Rock the Vote” logo was taken from the Rock the Vote website.
- The free stock photo of the millennial on their phone with their coffee cup was taken from Pexels.com. The free stock photo from my first draft was also taken from Pexels.com (link can be found here).
- The font “Neue” was downloaded from The New School’s Marketing & Communications page. The images of the University Center cafeteria and Eugene Lang Cafe were downloaded from The New School’s website.