Collecting Every Poster in the CalArts Halls
An Interactive Archive
SUMMARY CalArts is known for its uniquely vibrant poster culture. In the age of social media, where things can be more quickly communicated over email and facebook, students still refer to postings in the hall as a primary source of community communication. These are made by students, faculty, and staff from a variety of professional and artistic backgrounds, which results in a fascinating assortment of posters.
This is a website indexing every poster I could find in the CalArts halls that was not made be a graphic design student.
How do we make more interesting posters?
The graphic design department at CalArts has long been in charge of creating large, screen-printed posters for important campus events. But over the years both students and faculty noticed that the quality and inventiveness of many posters had lulled.

I asked the poster-making students for their perspectives on the situation.
Along with a lack of sufficient time, many cited similar design references and processes as a reason for the predictable outcomes.
Additionally, many felt that the posters subverted content to the point of ignoring it. This erased the possibility of drawing design inspiration from the function of the poster itself.
How do we make more interesting posters?
Apart from internet references, CalArts designers often look to the design work in the history of the school. This causes the posters to maintain a level of “CalArts-ness." But where else can designers look for reference?

Many write-off the work of untrained designers. But I believe that the amateur posters of CalArts have special insight—not only do they come from a variety of artistic disciplines, but they need to communicate their message in an eye-catching and effective way.

Immediately recognizable visual languages have arisen from this poster culture.
By engaging with and understanding amateur works, we can re-connect with the purpose and spirit behind the design of our posters.
Throughout the Spring 2017 semester, I photographed every unique poster I encountered in the CalArts hallways that was not made by a graphic designer.
I captured over 600 images, but I’m sure I missed (at least) 100 more hidden in corners of the school I didn’t frequent enough.
Through an extensive exercise in tagging and sorting, I was able to label all according to a categorization system.
IV. Strategy As the project continued, the audience broadened. It would exist not only as a tool for CalArts graphic designers, but CalArts students as a whole, CalArts alum, prospective students, or cultural anthropologists.

Therefore, this intuitive website needed functions that allowed the posters to be:
• Searched
• Sorted
• Discovered
• Compared
• Contrasted
• Archived
• Showcased
While I initially tested options items drawing metaphors between devices and babies, many felt this (literal) infantilization led them to lose respect for the device.

Instead, I stripped it down to the core of the idea: a soft, kind approach to humanization.
V. STRUCTURE he structure was simple, spotlighting a primary page in which posters were viewed, searched, and compared.

I initially created a wireframe sketches, centralizing the idea of comparison.
By engaging with and understanding amateur works, we can re-connect with the purpose and spirit behind the design of our posters.
VI. VISUAL APPROACH Not wanting to overpower the visuals of the work, I stuck with a basic design. Its visual elements subtly refer to the midcentury design and color palette of the school.
VII. FINAL MOCK-UPS Applying these elements, I created a final mock-up of the primary site interactions.
With my categorization system now created in wordpress, I plan to complete this into a functioning website in the near future.