ECC art students design new emergency posters


The first-place emergency poster designed by first-year graphic design student Rosa Isela Lopez.

Kip Kane, Staff Writer

No matter where people are, emergencies are bound to occur. Thus, people in emergency situations need directions to guide their behavior to be as safe as possible during a dangerous event. Elgin Community College has emergency posters located all over campus. However, these posters were created years ago and do not reflect the needs of ECC students anymore. ECC Emergency Management specialist Stephen Stassen sought to fix that.

Stassen’s idea for new posters was to include students in their creation, as he felt it was important to involve the most prevalent group on campus. Stassen, along with Peter Infelise (assistant professor of design), Juan Fernandez (director of art and design) and Sonal Patel (adjunct graphic design instructor), developed the idea of a competition where students could vote on their favorite poster designs to be printed and hung around campus.

“We’re gonna spend money anyway, why not spend it on students?” Stassen said.

Stassen initially recruited students via the Art and Design Club, on top of the poster design already being a project for a class taught by Patel. In total, there were 12 submissions for the contest, and nearly 200 votes were registered from students.

The first-place winner was first-year graphic design student Rosa Isela Lopez and the second-place winner was second-year student Nix Mysliwiec.

One of the most noticeable things about Lopez’s poster is the font choice. Lopez used the font Lexend for her poster, a font not often seen in public signage. The font is designed to reduce visual stress and assist dyslexic readers, according to Lopez.

Lopez also used many pictograms throughout her design to further aid those who struggle with reading.

“Many students I spoke with said they were visually appealing and enjoyable to look at since they could comprehend everything that was going on without having to read anything,” Lopez said.

Lopez entered the competition after being informed through Juan Fernandez and Peter Infelise. Later, Lopez worked with Patel, her graphic design instructor, to make the poster creation into a class assignment.

“Students typically get frustrated when given a task as essential as the Emergency Management Safety Procedures Competition (EMSEP), but I was very excited,” Lopez said.

Mysliwiec wanted her design to be eye-catching and simple, so people in a panic could understand what they needed to do quickly.

“I wanted to try something different by not sticking to how generic safety posters look, giving it a more creative look,” Mysliwiec said. “I tried to highlight as much information as I could in pictures to make sure that it was readable quickly.”

Mysliwiec has competed in art and design contests before, so she enjoyed this competition.

“I chose to enter [EMSEP] because I enjoyed being in art competitions,” Mysliwiec said. “I went to Cambridge Lakes Charter School throughout elementary school and they would do an art competition where each grade could compete with their classmates. After leaving the school, I joined small online art competitions and liked having my art shown… I took a break in high school and decided to enter this one since I hadn’t done one in over five years.”

The new posters, designed by Lopez, are set to be printed and hung around campus for the fall 2023 semester.