Graphic Design Blog Post

Anti-fracking Poster: The Design Process

I’ve recently been working on my poster trumpeting the cause of banning hydraulic across the land. There are many potential approaches for this topic, including Pathos (emotion), Logos (logic), and Ethos (ethics). I think that most good campaigns would use a combination of the three, but below is a little experimentation with using them individually.



After playing around with hand drawn ideas, I decided to move things onto the computer and try a few more ideas. The methods of Logos and Ethos were appealing to me more than playing with people’s emotions. I think that trying too hard to pull on people’s heart strings can cheapen the message, and especially with such a strong, persuasive case such as banning fracking, there is no need for it. I find that logic and ethics lend themselves to a simplistic, clean design, so that the message really shines through. Below are a few of the poster trials from my experimentations.

Collected Posters Wrk1-12


As I thought more about the final product, an ad campaign I had seen in the Toronto subway system came to mind. It is an ad for homelessness awareness, which could be a very emotional, sappy issue. But instead of going for your emotions, this ad presents a clean wall of text that tells a story about a day in the life of a homeless child. It doesn’t assault you with its message, and gives the viewer the freedom to read it or not. And I have a feeling that a lot of people do!


Inspired by this, I thought I would try the idea of a “wall of text”, and use it as a figurative representation, as well as a means of delivering lots of information. I use the text to represent the ground that is being drilled into in the fracking process. The drill line and subsequent fractures wind through the text, parting it as they go. I typeset the text at a small enough size that from a distance it looks almost solid, and there are enough words on each line for them to fit around the fracture lines.

At the top and bottom I put the tag line “Could you please frack off?”, which is supposed to be an edgy play on the profane-ish sound of the word “frack”. It is in a messy, bold typeface called Fingerpaint, that looks a little like smeared oil or blood, and gives it a rough, organic texture that contrasts with the rigid smoothness of the other text.

I chose to make the poster very long and skinny to play on the incredible depth of a fracking site. Some of these sites can go up to 10,000 feet deep. Making the poster thin gives it an interesting look, sets it apart from other standard posters, and lets the concept come to life.

I’m going to keep developing this concept, but I like how this poster works on two levels: the initial impact of seeing the obvious representation of a fracking well, and also the more subtle but substantial information delivered when the viewer comes closer and reads the body text of the poster.







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