Word Spreads: UT Student-Designed Election Billboards Now on Display in Arizona

Rob Heller, a professor in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media in UT's College of Communication and Information, asked his media graphics students to design posters encouraging people to vote in the upcoming election. Heller contacted the local office of Lamar Advertising, the company that manages many of the billboards around Knoxville. Lamar agreed to print three vinyl signs and also include some of the students' work on digital billboards strategically placed around the city.

One of the billboards now on display.

Billboards designed by UT students urging people to vote are now on display around Phoenix, Arizona.

The designs, created by students in Rob Heller’s media graphics class, were first used on billboards around Knoxville, thanks to Lamar Advertising. Then Lamar representatives in Phoenix saw media reports about the UT students’ work and asked if they could use the artwork for billboards in their area, too.

“I thought the campaign was great—clean, easy, readable messages that would work great on our digital format,” said Christina Butler, general manager for Lamar’s Phoenix operation. “As you may know, Arizona is being considered a swing state in this election, so I thought it would be a great message to put out in our community.”

The Phoenix billboards went up on November 3.

The billboard messages began when Heller, a professor in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media in UT’s College of Communication and Information, asked his students to design billboards urging people to vote in the upcoming election. The assignment was to create nonpartisan messages—type only, no pictures—using only three words, including a version of the word “vote.” The students could use only black and white plus one color.

Heller was so pleased with his students’ work that he contacted the local office of Lamar Advertising, the company that manages many of the billboards around Knoxville. Lamar agreed to print three vinyl signs and also include some of the students’ work on digital billboards strategically placed around the city.

CONTACT:

Amy Blakely (ablakely@utk.edu, 865-974-5034)