Design Brief
This assignment required us to create a poster with a slogan and an animated component that brought attention to a social or political issue of our choice. Secondary requirements included a sticker and app icon design that tied into the poster to simulate a campaign. I chose to center my poster and campaign around the rise in racism faced by the Asian American and Pacific Islander community (AAPI) as a result of COVID-19 driven xenophobia. 

photo by Jason Leung via Unsplash

I wanted to show the problematic perspective of those who blame China for COVID-19 and thus show hatred and racism towards AAPI. Although the topic is heavy, I decided to take a risk by exploring satirical solutions.

Out of all my sketches, I saw the most potential from this combination of symbols that are unusually used together. It is a takeout box typically associated with Chinese-American restaurants, but the usual image of a red building on the box is replaced by a biohazard symbol. I was drawn to the impact this imagery could have while staying simple and recognizable. It's symbolic for the way some Americans view Asians and Asian culture as COVID-19 itself.    
A variety of compositions featuring the takeout box with the biohazard symbol were drafted. The solution was to go with the vintage advertisement aesthetic because it best highlighted the symbolism of the takeout box in a cohesive way. From here, I sought feedback from many peers and mentors to strengthen the satirical aspect of the design. I wanted to make it as clear as possible that this poster shows a problematic perspective, and that it’s the perspective we shouldn't support. From the feedback, I went on to finalize the symbolism in the poster.

These sketches were an attempt show who is "serving" the racism. The left image depicts Uncle Sam as the source while the right image depicts the 45th President of the U.S. as the source.
These sketches were an attempt show who is "serving" the racism. The left image depicts Uncle Sam as the source while the right image depicts the 45th President of the U.S. as the source.
Both phrases are meant to mimic the catchy slogans of vintage advertisements. The rapid rise in racism and violence towards AAPI during the COVID-19 pandemic feels like this behavior has become so easy and convenient, so "Racism to-go" captures that sentiment. The phrase "Authentic flavors of Xenophobia" is a play on words, as if Xenophobia is the name of a country or region. Additionally, it narrows down the type of racism experienced by AAPI during this time.
The takeout box with a biohazard symbol has a double meaning. First, it mimics the way Asians and Asian culture are wrongly seen as the COVID-19 itself. Secondly, in the context of the poster as a whole, it is implied that "Racism" is being sold conveniently inside of the takeout box, therefore the biohazard symbol warns the viewer that the contents of the box are toxic, dangerous, and easily spread.

The hand with the "45" ring is a reference to the 45th president of the U.S. who was in office at the beginning of the pandemic. He often called COVID-19 the "China Virus" and even went as far as calling it the "Kung-Flu." These kind of misnomers fueled the hate towards AAPI. Additionally, the tagline "Making it easy again" implies that racism is made easy again and it is a reference to his campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."
The coupons at the bottom of the page further play into the vintage ad aesthetics while making it clear that this specific rise in racism towards AAPI is happening during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The animation was created in Adobe After Effects and it provides interest without overpowering the main contents of the poster while adding an extra layer of symbolism to the green texture. The rotation was meant to mimic hypnosis or brainwashing techniques, as if the viewer is being subliminally lead to buy into the anti-Asian rhetoric, which is exactly what happens when misnomers such as "China Virus" are used in place of "COVID-19."
background photo by Stoked Tradie via Unsplash -
background photo by Stoked Tradie via Unsplash -

Variation for Instagram posts

mockup file by CosmoStudio via Freepik

Click below to download a PDF of the static poster. (not for profit)
For more info and resources, please visit (not affiliated) 

photo by Jason Leung via Unsplash

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