O Say Can You See!
Poster honoring the Bicentennial of the Star Spangled Banner – 2014
Happy 200th Star Spangled Anniversary America! – Submitted to the University of Baltimore's "O! Say Poster Competition", this design was on display as part of a week-long celebration of the Bicentennial of the Star Spangled Banner in Baltimore. Composed in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, the writing of the National Anthem was inspired by his witness of the bombardment of Ft. McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore – a key conflict in the War of 1812.
Beyond focusing on the historical context of the Star Spangled Banner, this poster is meant to convey a sense of nostalgia, timelessness, and youthful optimism – capturing the essence of emotions stirred from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as a child, or by watching a fireworks display on the 4th of July.
Reflecting a reminiscent spirit of national pride – my design was informed by the patriotic imagery of Mid-Century-American propaganda, prominently advertised on posters, in pamphlets, on postage stamps, and throughout publications from the post WWII era. Also influential were the design aesthetics surrounding the 1976 U.S. Bicentennial, including the slogan "Spirit of 76".
The original flag that flew above Ft. McHenry had fifteen stars and fifteen stripes – hence the fifteen stripes in background of this poster, and the fifteen-star arc above the "14" emblem. The image of the young woman is referenced from a drawing by American cartoonist Charles Burns.
This alternate version incorporates an overlay of symbolic stars not prominent in the original poster design.