Background:

An AIDS poster is a warning call against a global threat. A group of AIDS posters reveals that this single unifying concern encompasses a variety of issues — issues that are subject to the filter of distinct cultures. In the industrialized nations, AIDS information comes to the public primarily in classrooms and on television and radio. Where access to electronic media is limited, posters are a critically important tool for reaching the public.

Objective:
To create a taxonomy of HIV/AIDS information posters.

Methods:
I examined over 2,500 posters in order to classify them by their form and content. In this presentation I will describe the factors that rule the design of AIDS posters, culture to culture. Many posters from around the world will be shown.

Among the observed distinctions:

• Advances in worldwide communication have diminished some cultural differences, but graphics still exhibit regional styles and serve regional needs. The subtlety seen in posters from Eastern Europe, for example, reflects a legacy of graphics as a means of expressing political opinion in a covert way. By contrast, posters from developing nations are often direct and information‐filled.

• Independent of the quality of design, the quality of poster production depends on the resources that are available to fund a health education campaign. These assets vary widely, nation to nation.

• The course AIDS takes in a population varies from region to region, reflecting the way the HIV virus is transmitted. Posters target groups of individuals as specific as barbers, prostitutes, and prison workers. These are among the factors that make posters engaging and culturally relevant for their primary audience. For science communicators the variety seen in the posters is a reminder of the necessity to "know your public."

Conclusions:
There is evidence of diminished numbers of new cases of HIV infection, worldwide. This can be attributed to improvements in prevention — preventive practices that may have been adopted because of successful graphic communication. Graphic designers are careful observers of their culture, certain to use a tone and style that will attract their audience while remaining within the standards the culture imposes. Although the cause and effect relationship may be impossible to establish, it would be reasonable to assume that lives are saved when designers engage the public’s interest and convey critical scientific information.

">
 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Graphic Alert
An international overview of HIV/AIDS posters

Adrienne Klein   The Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Background:

An AIDS poster is a warning call against a global threat. A group of AIDS posters reveals that this single unifying concern encompasses a variety of issues — issues that are subject to the filter of distinct cultures. In the industrialized nations, AIDS information comes to the public primarily in classrooms and on television and radio. Where access to electronic media is limited, posters are a critically important tool for reaching the public.

Objective:
To create a taxonomy of HIV/AIDS information posters.

Methods:
I examined over 2,500 posters in order to classify them by their form and content. In this presentation I will describe the factors that rule the design of AIDS posters, culture to culture. Many posters from around the world will be shown.

Among the observed distinctions:

• Advances in worldwide communication have diminished some cultural differences, but graphics still exhibit regional styles and serve regional needs. The subtlety seen in posters from Eastern Europe, for example, reflects a legacy of graphics as a means of expressing political opinion in a covert way. By contrast, posters from developing nations are often direct and information‐filled.

• Independent of the quality of design, the quality of poster production depends on the resources that are available to fund a health education campaign. These assets vary widely, nation to nation.

• The course AIDS takes in a population varies from region to region, reflecting the way the HIV virus is transmitted. Posters target groups of individuals as specific as barbers, prostitutes, and prison workers. These are among the factors that make posters engaging and culturally relevant for their primary audience. For science communicators the variety seen in the posters is a reminder of the necessity to "know your public."

Conclusions:
There is evidence of diminished numbers of new cases of HIV infection, worldwide. This can be attributed to improvements in prevention — preventive practices that may have been adopted because of successful graphic communication. Graphic designers are careful observers of their culture, certain to use a tone and style that will attract their audience while remaining within the standards the culture imposes. Although the cause and effect relationship may be impossible to establish, it would be reasonable to assume that lives are saved when designers engage the public’s interest and convey critical scientific information.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

BACK TO TOP