In 1968, students from the UIC Circle Campus School of Art and Design, printed posters to protest at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Five of those posters, printed with metal and wood type, were pasted up underneath a skylight in the Architecture & Art building (now Architecture & Design Studios), where they remain today. Each features a slogan typical of the period: La lutte continue; All power to the people; Free Huey support the Panthers; If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem; and Up against the wall. All are in remarkably good condition except the last, which had large parts scraped off and was painted over. The survival of the rest may be due in equal parts to the tenacity of the paste and their strategic position relatively out of sight and directly above an atrium.
Fifty years later, not only the posters remain but also the letterpress shop in which they were printed, now part of the School of Design. Inspired by this dual survival, Daniel Mellis, the school’s Print Lab Manager, has reprinted the posters using the same fonts they were originally printed in; sometimes even reusing the exact same pieces of type. The School of Design is working on a booklet about these prints; please get in touch if you know of or know anyone who might know more about their history.