By Heather Haughn and Nada Hayek
Land Acknowledgement Street Banners
Heather and I chose to do street banners in order to acknowledge original First Nations land and bring it into every day consciousness, in a way that is non-confrontational. Our strategy was to approach this sensitive subject in a simple way that would promote education and mutual respect. Accompanying our series of street banners is a landing site, which provides additional information about the different Nations, and their histories.
Website | By including an interactive map on the site, we create a visual parallel between the street banners, and the website. We kept it colour coded to help differentiate the different Nations, and again, to tie it back to the banners.
Typography | Typographic choices for these banners were made in efforts to keep the campaign feeling fresh and modern, but still friendly. Bold, sans serif fonts were chosen in order to increase readability from a distance.
Colour | The colours chosen for each Nation symbolize a trait that is specific to each of their different cultures or relationship with the land. For instance, Musqueam is green because this Nation is named after a type of grass, native to their land. We chose bright colours and took graphic approaches to our design because we felt this would help to make the banners stand out against a busy urban landscape.
Banner Design | In order to avoid appropriation, Heather and I chose to avoid the use of First Nations art. We didn’t feel comfortable reproducing such a visual part of First Nations culture, even for a project. So instead, our solution was to take a very graphic approach. The cut out shapes on the banners mimic the territory of each Nation. The cut out acts as an element of interest to viewers, as it’s unique and unconventional. Two, by depicting the land as a cut-out, it conceptually represents the land that was taken away from First Nation Peoples. Three, it acts to frame the modern landscape behind it, representing an alternative perspective and bringing this issue back to the present. It’s important to note that the banners, rather than being made from fabric, would be made from a sturdy material, such as metal or plastic.
9/10 | Given the sensitive issue we’ve tackled, I feel Heather and I have come up with a simple, unique and effective solution. The branding of the banners and website are cohesive and the bright, graphic aethetics are appropriate for what we were trying to achieve; a heavy subject turned accessible. I feel our project brings to its viewer educational content, conceptual visuals and a friendly personality all in a non-confrontational way, and for this reason deserves a 9/10.
Research Links: Government Map, Map, Reconciliation Canada, Stolen Land Broken Promises, Aboriginal Issues, First Peoples Guide, About BC First Nations, Land Rights, The Dominion, Vancouver Sun