“The biggest lesson that they gain is that their work can make a difference,” says David Bremer, associate professor at Otis College of Art and Design. “Communication is a critical art in our culture and artists and designers have tremendous influence. How to use that influence responsibly is really at the heart of this course.”
Bremer is the faculty lead on Capstone: SeePolitical, a popular Liberal Arts and Sciences course now in its third year, that leverages the unique skills of digital media and communication students and puts them in the service of civic engagement. The students’ challenge is to replace the traditional voter guide with stylized animations that provide clear and concise ballot information to the electorate.
Students work directly with voter education non-profit SeePolitical to research and identify which ballots will be included in the project.
"It's truly inspiring to witness each student's transformation as they learn more about the political process and develop their own analytical tools to help educate voters across California," said SeePolitical founder and executive director Nate Kaplan.
Imaginary Forces (IF), the agency that designed the now iconic titles for Stranger Things and Mad Men, act as the creative soundboard. Their team provided students with weekly feedback on the animations and design elements. Chip Houghton, a member of the Otis College Board Of Governors, is a principle at IF and fostered the partnership.
Four propositions were chosen for this semester's class, measures 56: Tobacco Tax, 60: Condoms in Adult Films, 63: Guns and Ammunition Sales, and 64: California Marijuana Legalization. Videos from previous classes have explored the role of the electoral college, comparing primaries and caucuses, and prior ballot measures.
“The students don’t necessarily enter the class with a civics background,” explained Bremer. “In a sense, this is a gift. The target audience for this information isn't necessarily familiar with the process either, so as the students learn more and try to explain, they, in turn, gain knowledge and a deeper understanding of their impact.
Students at the Imaginary Forces Los Angeles office for feedback on their animations.
(Jeremie Carreon, Kyungrok Chun, Gisela Falcone, Janet Kim, Vin Kim, Jason Lee, Sol Lee, Christina Liang, Sonia Morarka, Daveion Thompson, Demetris Vazquez, Valentino Vilches)