Forced, a political poster.



As promised, here is the finished version of the political poster I’ve been working on. I was happy with it, but also frustrated. The real inspiration ended up coming after I finished this up, to keep up with doing more posters, to be more bold in my approach to design and life in general. Although in this particular poster, I don’t feel like the design is completely resolved, in that I would want it to draw more of an emotional reaction than it does. Again, it will be something to keep working on, to refine my voice, and be more comfortable with addressing the uncomfortable (especially as one who wants to see change).

I chose the main typeface Greycliff because I wanted something that had many weights, and could communicate a message clearly in a modern way, while still having roots in editorial type. Some of the history of it was that it was designed to imitate typefaces from the 40s, like for newspaper headlines. For this project, I was initially very inspired by old newspapers, especially those about the Japanese relocation after Pearl Harbor. I was able to find some cool inspiration for typefaces through

For the research of this project I sourced many, many first-person interviews, as well as newspapers. If you would like to dive into more of these very thought-provoking and challenging interviews, please do →

The links I include in the poster are very educational, and helpful for those who may be struggling with discrimination. If you are not personally facing these issues, but still want to help, I also included a link to take action.  → Know your rights  → Take action

Download a free, full-size poster PDF → forced-political-poster-2017


Greycliff CF (found on CreativeMarket)

Arnhem (found on OurType)




Research and Art Direction

I am learning the process of art direction, which has turned out to include a ton of research. I was given the task to create a poster for an event, one that includes information, and not just purely an artistic or illustrative depiction.

Beginning with what inspires me, I jotted down a few basic concepts. Beginning with Japanese related things, such as Japanese festivals, Japanese in Arizona … I realized I was focusing on a bigger political issue at hand. I hadn’t made the connection yet to the political and social climate we’re experiencing today, but I was developing a stronger and stronger distaste for something we had done as a nation some 75 years ago.

After talking through the concept with my design team, my design lead mentioned that I should try connecting the event of those many years ago with something we’re experiencing today in the U.S. I decided to create a human rights poster.

Realizing what I wanted to do was a bit out of my comfort zone, but I pushed for it anyways. I wanted to challenge myself as a person and as a designer. So here we go.

Through this process, I’ve realized how cowardly I am as a person (and citizen), as well as realizing the pain in design, saying what you want to say but knowing it may not be the best design solution.

Painful struggle.

Through the struggle, I want to push on in hopes my knowledge of the world will turn to action, and my skills as a designer will be sharpened—even if a little at a time.

My basic process:

  • Research topics of interest
  • Brainstorm
  • Hone in on topic and gather supporting evidence, quotes, resources, talk to people who have a deeper understanding of the topic or similar topics
  • Brainstorm again, draw up many sketches and layouts
  • Typography research (I used
  • Pick best quotes and most powerful facts
  • Start designing
  • Critique from team, help from copy writer
  • Keep designing and refining
  • Critique from team and copy refinement
  • Final design (or repeat last couple of steps until ready)

Brainstorming sketches:


Layouts and revisions:

poster-versions-previewOnce I get to that “Final Design” step in my process, I’ll make sure to share with you here. Thanks for reading. –R

Be Good


I just pulled this from Jason Santa Maria’s design blog. It is definitely important to understand this and take it to heart. Especially at the beginning of projects, I find myself wrestling with the concept of making “the best thing ever,” when the focus ought to be shifted over to “its real purpose.”

Source →

The In-between


“…If you stop to think about it, most of life is ‘in between.’ When goal orientation comes to dominate our thoughts, little that seems to really count is left. Could all of us reclaim the lost hours of our lives by making everything—the commonplace along with the extraordinary—a part of our practice?

Life is filled with opportunities for practicing the inexorable, unhurried rhythm of mastery, which focuses on process rather than product, yet which, paradoxically, often ends up creating more and better products in a shorter time than does hurried, excessively goal-oriented rhythm that has become standard in our society.”

—George Leonard, Mastery

Quarterly Book List

Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment by George Leonard Read

Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter Read

The Design of Dissent: Socially and Politically Driven Graphics by Milton Glaser et al. Read

A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki Read

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek Read


Designing for Exhibition and Display


In an excerpt from Know Your Onions, How to think like a creative, act like a businessman and design like a God, De Soto wisely advises, “The viewer should be motivated to ask themselves these three questions. These questions should underpin the principles of your design: What’s that? Where do I find out more? What do I do now?”

So far, this book has been very practical in giving advice about working on paper first, creative brainstorming, working with printers and clients, setting up documents correctly for printers, etc. I am only halfway through it, but look forward to seeing what else the author will touch on.

The book itself is nicely designed too. The cover is kraft cardboard which makes it feel very approachable and down-to-earth. The orange binding psychologically gears you up for creative thinking, and once inside, the page layout is designed in a way that makes it easy to read and digest the information.