Three Canadian Designers Create UNESCO Posters


Give the same creative brief to three different designers and you’re likely to get back three different solutions. Take for example the poster competition sponsored by the Canadian Council on Learning and the Canadian Commission of UNESCO to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and mark International Adult Learners’ Week last March. Sixty designers across Canada submitted their portfolios; three were commissioned to design posters around the theme “Learning is a Human Right.” Here’s what the three had to say about their design approach.

Internationally known poster artist Andrew Lewis in Brentwood Bay, BC, explains “Learning takes place deep inside our ‘grey matter’, which, in my mind, is not grey at all, but a fanned out Pantone book, not in any arranged order but an explosion of random colors. Sketching with colored pencils on paper, I developed this image where the left side is a flat range of colors that move right and literally left the page, or the mind. The original image was smack dab in the center of the page, so using scissors, I cut it in half and moved it over, then realized I could make a pattern, suggesting that we as humans become connected through the process of learning.”


David Coates, a partner in Ion Branding + Design in Vancouver, BC, states that he sought to show “the vitality of life that learning affords. The idea of the Declaration of Human Rights is conveyed strongly as an historical document through the paper texture and script font…The colored dots reinforce basic human rights being ingrained in our human DNA.”

Sergio Serrano, who was born in Coahuila, Mexico, in 1985 and moved to Edmonton, Alberta, in 2003, to pursue a degree in design, says that the concept for his poster “came from the idea of education as a journey….Each stage in a person’s education is a steppingstone that leads to new paths and directions. I wanted to convey the freedom a person has in choosing his or her own learning path….[and] emphasize the learning process and each step along it, since I believe that learning is not a destination but a life-long journey.”

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