Se Busca : graphic design as a tool to shift attitudes about violence in Chihuahua
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Since 2006, the city of Chihuahua, Mexico has been engulfed in a wave of drug-related violence that has resulted in thousands of murders, kidnappings, and "disappearances." Because bloody headlines sell newspapers, violence dominates the mainstream media, which contributes to residents' sense of hopelessness and helplessness. In response, in my graduate work I have investigated ways in which I can use the persuasive tactics and appearance of mainstream commercial graphic design to effect social change: specifically, to shift Chihuahuans' attitudes about their city. Through three interventions (The Graffiti Workshop, the Riberas school identity, and the Se busca project), I have attempted to encourage civic participation, recognize positive contributions within the community, and build an economic engine around local heroes. By doing so, I hope to reverse the prevailing belief that individuals are powerless to confront large, complex social issues. In addition, I hope these projects demonstrate some of the ways in which graphic designers can effectively apply their design skills to social as well as commercial problems.