Posters have right type

March 13, 2005|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

HAGERSTOWN - Students in Ellen Smith's typography design class at Hagerstown Community College exceeded her expectations when they designed posters based on their interpretations of a quote by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"They knew it was going to be an important project, and they rose to the occasion," Smith said.

The posters were created at the request of the HCC's Multicultural Committee in honor of the college's King holiday celebration in January.

Typography design teaches students how to design graphic images using words, Smith said.

The quote was taken from remarks made by King on Feb. 24, 1956, during bus boycotts in Montgomery, Ala. The quote reads:


"If we are arrested every day, if we are exploited every day, if we are trampled over every day, don't ever let anyone pull you so low as to hate them. We must use the weapon of love. We must have the compassion and understanding for those who hate us. We must realize so many people are taught to hate us that they are not totally responsible for their hate. But we stand in life at midnight, we are always on the threshold of a new dawn."

Travis Liller of Chambersburg, Pa., said the U.S. flag was the first image to come to his mind, after reading King's quote.

"When you look at the flag, everyone knows what the flag means," Liller said.

With that in mind, he designed a poster to convey a patriotic theme of unity.

"I was trying to work with a concept on the nationality of the message," said Liller, who believes the quote was meant for everyone, not one certain group of people.

Liller's poster incorporates words from the quote into the flag's red and white bars. Using a smaller point size, he also added the phrase, "In God We Trust." Liller said the phrase taps into the public's emotions, regarding faith and religion.

"Most people look up to God and they try to look to Him for help," Liller said, "I think King was looking to God for help."

Debra Lanzendorfer interpreted King's quote from a slightly different perspective.

"I wanted to emphasize the new dawn as opposed to the negative side," she said. "I wanted something more peaceful."

Using large block lettering, Lanzendorfer designed images of the words 'hate' and 'love' in front of a rising sun in the background. For her, an image of dawn represents the possibility for peace that comes with each new day, she said.

"No matter how bad it is, it can always be fixed and always improved," she said. "You can pick the positive side or the negative side, you can do something constructive or you can be a part of the problem."

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