UN Poster For Peace Contest – Getting Started

Class 1C
Nov 12, 2015

Lecture: Typography

Text is an important part of graphic design both because of the message it conveys and the way it works as a visual element within graphic composition. Today’s lecture offers the most important practical advice on how to use text in your design.


Download Lecture (PDF)

Download Font Collection
For your convenience, I made a collection of decent fonts you can use in your designs.

Illustrator #9: Working With Text
This tutorial will introduce you to basics of working with text in Illustrator, which includes creating text objects, and modifying its font, text size and alignment.

Project Presentation

Congratulations to all of you – at this point in time you’ve made your first steps into the world of graphic design.
Right now we are at the second step in the above image, and the only thing we need to do next week is make a strong push towards the step 3. :) :)And the only way to make a big leap from step 2 to step 3 is through some real-world assignment, and usually the best way to sharpen your skills is through design competitions (other great way of doing that is actually working in a design studio).
Therefore the next two sessions you will be working on a design that will be presented to a design competition, which is a win-win situation for you. At very best, some of you may win prize, glory, recognition, money and everything that goes with it
At the very worst, you will win no prize, but you will be moving from step 2 to step 3 in the above diagram – you will learn a lot and will have made something cool to show for!
We will also have an exhibition of your work in some cool place in Madrid.
So there’s your chance for an early fame and glory, now let’s see how we are going to go about this. :)

Task Description

During the sessions 1C and 1D you will be working on your design that will be submitted to UN Poster for Peace Contest.You will find the link and more details about the competition in the continuation of this post.

Please note the following:

Competition Rules

From the competition website:

…United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs has launched a UN Poster for Peace Contest. The contest aims to raise awareness on the need for nuclear disarmament, to promote the work of the United Nations and its disarmament efforts, and to inspire citizens across the globe to add their voices, and use their artistic talents, in working for a world free of nuclear weapons.

Please see the entire project description and the rules at:

Pay special attention to the competition rules on this page:

especially the technical restrictions:

If you fail to meet these technical requirements you will automatically be disqualified from the competition regardless of the quality of your work. It will also have a negative impact on your final grade. However, if you work well in class you shouldn’t worry about failing to meet these requirements.


You will need to upload at least 10 different ideas (written in text) and at least 3 sketches before the class. Ideally, work on these on different days, so I can give you feedback on time. Also, if you really want to start of well, I would recomment to make at least 10 small -and different- sketches before the class.
Remember – use the Digital Culture Club as much as you can to advance your project BETWEEN the classes, and the best way to do that is to post your progress work every day! Below you will find the details.

Also very useful:

Keep revisiting the 1B section of the website where your “exhibition posters” were uploaded, as I keep posting comments with suggestions on them. Take a look at work of your fellow students and also the comments, as you can learn a lot from all this!

Tips To Get Started

Sketch A Lot!

When it comes to graphic design in general, remember this image:

A good idea is the most important aspect of good graphic design. And, unlike any other design discipline, in graphic design a good idea can often compensate for a not-perfect execution (however, very bad execution can still ruin even the best idea).
So please dedicate a lot of time to thinking of your ideas first.

As a homework, please create a new post in 1C category and start adding your thoughts on the subject of the competition. You can add both written thoughts, as well as the handmade sketches.
Here are my suggestions:
– Try to think of as many different ideas as you can in 15 minutes.
Put a timer on your phone, and completely focus on this task as if your life depends on it. You will be amazed what you can come up with in a very short period of time if you get really focused! During these 15 minutes, write down, or make very small sketches, of as many idea as you can. Then upload them to the 1C post you’ve just created.
Ideally, repeat this process on different days to try to come up with even more fresh ideas.
What exactly to think of?
When thinking about idea, use the “divergent thinking” – remember the first lecture I gave you about how many uses we can think for a brick? Well this is a moment to get crazy like that. Write down any associaciones that come to your mind on the idea of “nuclear disarmament”. You can think of any association and metaphor you can have on the topic of nuclear weapons. You can both explore positive metaphors (ie. how beautiful the world without nuclear weapons could be) as well negative ones (ie. we’re all going to die horrible deaths if we go on like this).
Do not evaluate your idea just now.
When doing your 15 minute sessions, only focus on finding new ideas, but do not spend time thinking if they are good ideas or not. Just let yourself go, as the goal of this exercise is not to find one perfect solution but to open up as many possible directions as possible!

Start Very Small

The best thing to explore new ideas is to make “thumbnail” sketches.
Each one of this shouldn’t be bigger than, say 3×4.5cm, because it’s easier to explore design on a small scale. Why is that so? Well, when you work on a small size sketches you really can only focus on the main aspects on your work as you can’t even see the details. This means that when you work on a small sketch, you work only on the most important aspects of your idea, the ones that will make the most impact.
If a sketch doesn’t look good at 3×4.5cm it will surely look even worse when developed into full-size poster. So working on small sketches will save you up a lot of time.
So how to do them?
Start by drawing a “boundary” of your poster (a rectangle only that you will fill with your design). Make sure that your frame corresponds to real proportions of the poster (which should be 60x90cm). So for example, 3×4.5cm is a good proportion and good size to start from.
– Inside this boundary, draw a quick composition using all these principles of compositions we talked about.
– Only focus on main visual elements when making a sketch.
Treat text as a visual element in this sketch – and even better, instead of writing a text, just start by drawing a rectangle that will represent the text.
– Repeat many times.

Below you will find are some examples of the sketches, from different designers working on different project.

Sketch Examples

Now some examples of the sketches (topic of this sketches and their authors are unknown):


Students' Work