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Graphic design project provides students political voice

Jason Harward co-editor-in-chief

After the Las Vegas shootings brought gun violence to the center of the political stage, art teacher Michael Federman allowed his graphic design students to add their voice to the debate by making a poster taking a stance on some part of gun control legislation.

Federman believes learning graphic design goes hand in hand with leading social change because graphic design is, at its very core, a proponent of social change.

“I’m using graphic design class for social awareness because that’s what graphic designers do; that’s how protests are created. That’s what artists do; they communicate through pure imagery,” Federman said.

Instead of worrying about specific software or tutorials, Federman pushed his students to come up with an idea first and then learn the software to put that idea on paper.

“The best learning on the software comes from saying ‘This is what I want to create, how do I do that?’ rather than me taking them through some tutorials. That for them created a huge learning jump and gave them a personal voice,” Federman said.

Freshman Variel Pascoal found that many projects like this one could have a profound effect on people’s thinking.

“There are millions of people who are not fortunate enough to share their interpretation of [these events]. They could have a huge impact on the society and give us a better understanding of these gruesome tragedies,” Pascoal said.

Junior Alex Faraj used the project as a way to get educated about a subject, just as a history project would allow him to learn about and from an opinion on a new subject.

“It relates to what I might be learning in history and what could be happening in our country with the emergence of all these alt right people blaming it on other people rather than accept that guns should be regulated,” Faraj said. “I think researching this project really showed me the mindset of other people and how they might be looking at this situation.”

Just as in an English or history class, Federman hopes his projects can help students take a stance on issues and make their voice heard in a responsible way.

“That’s really what it’s about,” Federman said.”You have to be able to take an opinion or standpoint on an issue and say something.”

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