Unintended Messaging In Posters from Missoula

Have you seen the thought-provoking “Make Your Move” posters created by Missoula’s Intervention in Action Project for promoting bystander intervention to stop rape and sexual assault (scroll down to see a large version of one of the posters)? We want to applaud Missoula’s Intervention in Action Project for taking a proactive approach to addressing bystander intervention in sexual situations, including alcohol-facilitated sexual assaults.

In support of their efforts, we have left a message on their FaceBook page and are trying to contact them directly to help them address the unintended potential problem the poster series has.

Often when a poster series gains national attention, other organizations think “Lets create a similar concept for our area.” For that reason, we need to take a deeper look at this specific poster series. We need to make sure we are not cheering so loudly that we potentially miss the unintended harm being done by the actual layout and design of the posters. If you look at the wording chosen for each poster, the choices are powerful and could be very effective. The next consideration is HOW the wording is used.

Look at the poster at the bottom of this post (one from the their poster series) and ask yourself, “What is the average person quickly walking by going to think when they see this poster?” Your typical passerby SEEs a poster quickly. They do not read the small print.

A person walking by sees a huge message of “I COULD TELL SHE WAS ASKING FOR IT” and never reads the very small print on the poster. Plus, the next largest font on the poster says, “MAKE YOUR MOVE” in the bottom right corner of the poster (a comment typically affiliated with “Just Go For It” and don’t ask first). In addition, the phrases in large print could be difficult for a survivor to have to face.

For anyone in other organizations thinking to themselves, “That poster series is powerful and getting lots of attention and so we should create our similar version,” PLEASE make sure the important aspects of the message you want conveyed is placed on the poster in a manner that is read loud and clear. Make sure anything printed in a small font size is not VITAL TO THE MESSAGE.

IMPORTANT: We are working to contact Missoula’s Intervention in Action Project to provide as much help as possible to address this concern. We are BELIEVERS in organizations dedicated to ending sexual violence needing to WORK TOGETHER to help each other. Our intention in publishing this post is to avoid more organizations from having a quick reaction to duplicating this style of poster layout with the most important message being placed in the smallest print.

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