Remember when I said at the beginning of the week that there were some projects from Jeffrey Yamaguchi's 52 Projects that I probably wouldn't do? Project #8—make a poster—was on that list. Here is the description of Project #8:Make a poster. It can be sized however you want, but 8.5 X 11 is easiest to copy and post. In terms of what should be on your poster, that’s wide open. The poster can be political, it can promote something you need to get the word out about, it can feature your art, or it can just be something that looks cool and is totally nonsensical. Anything. Once your poster is done, post it all over. You can post it all over a room, an office, a building, a school, a campus, a town, a city, a state, a nation, the world.
When I read the book, I couldn't imagine why in the world I would want to make a poster and then circulate it. I've since changed my mind, and today I hope I can convince you, too. Bear with me while I explain:
I read yesterday that since Tuesday's catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, the American Red Cross alone has received $8 million dollars in donations from cell phone users texting to the special number the U.S. State Department set up. That's $4 million more than the Red Cross received using this method for all of 2009. People want to help.
For the last few years my sister has organized a group of scrapbookers to make a calendar available for sale on Cafe Press. The 2009 theme required each participant to highlight a particular cause; we donated the proceeds from the sale of the calendars to charity. I chose to feature the organization Nothing But Nets, because it was the first international cause we introduced our oldest daughter to when she was four. As the page says, all kids can understand mosquitoes.
If you were to run this through a copy machine, it would look a lot like a poster, wouldn't it?
Like all of you, I've watched news coverage all week with a sense of frustration that there isn't more I could do beyond donating money. It occurred to me yesterday, though, that scrapbookers can do something more. We can complete Project #8. We have the tools, the design sense, the ability to convey a message on paper with simple design techniques. I sat down at the computer to see if I could create a poster in ten minutes that could be copied and tacked up on the bulletin boards you see everywhere you go—the library, the grocery store, the hallways at Panera and Starbucks that are usually covered with apartment rentals, for sale signs, and foreign language chat group meetings.
It was so easy I made three more:
This took ten minutes. I'll print out a handful at different sizes and stick a few pins and some tape in my purse when I'm out during the next week. Feel free to swipe mine to print and distribute where you live, too. If you design your own poster, you can make it say anything you want. The end result is the same: you'll be raising awareness and reminding people that this is an ongoing tragedy that we can't turn away from.
Here at Write. Click. Scrapbook, the disaster is personal. Our own Tina Cockburn and her husband Chris adopted their oldest child from Haiti, and have witnessed firsthand the challenges this country faced even before the earthquake. Together, we can do something more, however small.
Thanks for reading this week!