Minneapolis, MN—October 2016—The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) announced the unveiling of an adaptable system for all City of Minneapolis voting signage, designed by in-house studio DesignWorks.
MCAD first served as a polling place for Ward 10, Precinct 9 in the 2012 general election. Heavy voter turnout and low userfriendliness of existing signage led a group of students and staff to develop a multilingual signage system to help guide voters through the various steps of exercising their franchise on Election Day in time for the 2014 general election. The team was guided by Kate Mohn, MCAD grants and projects administrator, who previously worked at the Secretary of State’s office. Following best practices developed by American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA—the oldest and largest professional association for design in the United States) through its Design for Democracy project, the MCAD design team created a modular, flexible system of signage.
Concurrently, the City of Minneapolis had been considering a redesign of voter signage and recognized the value of MCAD’s refreshed signage approach. The DesignWorks’ students developed a style guide of standardized colors, fonts, and graphic elements to unify the system but also allow for adaptability depending on the needs of the various precincts. The signage system has been translated into Hmong, Somali, and Spanish.
“We, along with the poll workers, are very pleased with the uniformity and clean look of the new signs, and we’re hopeful they’ll be well received by voters,” Tim Schwarz, City of Minneapolis election administrator, said.
“As an educational institution, we’re very excited to have an impact on the improved voter signage system. Utilizing the design process to guide decisions, students have had a hand in improving the voter experience—a very timely and meaningful project,” said MCAD President Jay Coogan.
“What’s really exciting about this project is the potential that we can release this system using a creative commons model and potentially improve the voting experience not just for the 132 odd precincts in Minneapolis, but for all 87 counties and for the estimated three million registered voters in Minnesota,” Mohn said.
MCAD students and staff involved in the voting signage project:
- Kate Mohn ’14, MA—Liaison, MCAD Institutional Advancement
- Dylan Cole—Project Director, MCAD DesignWorks
- Hardy Stewart ’07—Design Consultant
- Aaron DeYoe ’10, MFA—Designer, MCAD DesignWorks
- Rita Kovtun—Proofreader, MCAD DesignWorks
- Stephen Lurvey—Student Designer, MCAD DesignWorks
- Daniel Lurvey—Student Designer, MCAD DesignWorks
- David Johanson—Student Designer, MCAD DesignWorks
MCAD DesignWorks is the Minneapolis College of Art and Design’s in-house design studio that gives students clientbased experiences in a professional creative environment. Designers are full-time students who develop solutions for both the college and outside organizations. Supported by seasoned MCAD staff, students develop key skills necessary for successful client relationships. By working with MCAD students, clients get leading-edge solutions, and MCAD students in turn get experience that gives them an edge as they begin their professional careers.
ABOUT THE MINNEAPOLIS COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN
Recognized nationally and internationally for its innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to visual arts education, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design is home to 800 students and offers professional certificates, bachelor of fine arts and bachelor of science degrees, and graduate degrees.