motion, print, visual system   |   fall 2015

An advocacy / awareness campaign client project with Carnegie Mellon University's Title IX Office on the topic of relationship violence.


Approaching the topic

Our client was the Title IX office of Carnegie Mellon University, and the advocacy campaign was to be centered around the topic of Sexual Abuse and Relationship Violence. My goal was to focus especially on dating violence, to unpack the dangers and signs of abusive relationships, and to empower people in abusive relationships to protect themselves. The tone of my project would be empowering, empathetic and positive, yet without undermining the seriousness of the subject. Thus my target audience was people who are still in abusive relationships. 


Concept development

As I researched around the topic and read more stories from the survivors, I understood that there were a lot more complications and entanglements in leaving an abusive relationship than I had once considered. I was shocked at the statistics that on average, women would have attempted to leave an abusive relationship 7 times before they would leave for good. I learnt about the cycle of abuse, a process in which most victims go through before they succeeded in leaving. I had a mental picture of all these different knots entangling around victims as they attempt to leave the relationship, and decided to use knots as a visual metaphor of the physical and psychological entanglements involved in such situations. I wanted to empower the audience to persevere in ending abusive relationships, one step at a time, even if it is an incredibly difficult and long process. 

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Motion piece

This short video piece unpacks the possible thinking behind each of the obstacles through a series of handwritten quotes from sources I collected, and encourages each with an alternate empowering message. 


Print piece

This 24” by 36” poster employs a grid system of 12 squares displaying the different knots, which represent the different obstacles in the process of leaving an abusive relationship. The two-color palette with simultaneous contrast for each square creates a pop art effect, which complements the grid layout. 


Final color palette

Final color palette

Color and typographic studies

The bright complementary color combinations could make my communication pieces too cheerful, which was inappropriate for the subject. Color contrast is the essence of my composition, however, and in order to retain the pop art effect, multiple colors in simultaneous contrast are necessary. To get the colors eye-catching, yet serious and sensitive to the subject matter, I did a series of color tests, decreased the saturation for a lot of the combinations, and was very careful in the juxtaposition of warm and cool colors. 

After many typographic explorations, I arrived at a font pairing of Din Condensed Bold and Letter Gothic Italic. The monotype spacing of Letter Gothic evokes a sterile, passive-aggressive, slightly forlorn feeling in my opinion, which I believe conveys the subject very well in this case. 


Learning outcome

  • Writing a complete client brief, which helped a lot in framing my research, clarifying my goals, intention and target audience, especially in the concept ideation phase
  • Narrowing down the main concept in such a broad realm
  • Creating a visual narrative through a metaphor or motif with such a sensitive topic
  • Finding an appropriate voice and aesthetics tailored for the specific target audience and the chosen concept
  • Succinctly and clearly articulating headlines and body copy that communicates the concept in the most sensitive yet engaging way
  • Be explorative in the range of layout, color palette and typographic decisions in my many iterations