Kerning for a Cause

Submission: September 05, 2016
Registration: September 05, 2016
Language: English
Location: Concept
Prizes: See details below
Type: Open


The Chicago Chapter of The Architecture Lobby announces its first ever design competition, Kerning for a Cause, beginning August 1, 2016


In its current form, the federal labor laws poster is flawlessly undesigned to remain camouflaged in an office environment. Though posters informing all workers of their rights under both state and federal laws are required to be displayed in a location where employees can easily see and read them, this is often not the case. These posters’ large size and inflexible format limits where in the workspace they can actually be displayed, and their bland and cluttered appearance often compels employers to keep them out of sight. Even when the posters are in an accessible location, their small text and poor design can make them difficult to be read and understood by the workers they are intended to inform.


As designers, this is an issue we can address. A little bit of good design can go a long way in helping employers to comply with existing mandates while increasing awareness of the laws and regulation that exist to protect laborers from exploitation.

As a means of bringing attention to labor laws, the Architecture Lobby Chicago Chapter is hosting a competition open to all architects and designers who self-identify as laborers, to redesign the Federal Labor Laws poster that is legally mandated to hang in any business with employees. The redesigned posters should incorporate openness and transparency into their designs, to better convey the importance of upholding federal labor laws in a formal workplace setting. This is an open call to submit proposals for an improved design for posters intended to inform workers of their rights under federal law. Through this competition we’ll begin to build a library of posters that cover labor legislation at the Federal and State level, free for anyone to print and display in their own office. Entries selected as finalists by jury members of the Architecture Lobby will be printed and displayed at a gallery exhibition.


Though the focus of this contest is to call attention to labor rights issues that affect architects and designers, this contest is open to anyone in the workforce. You may enter individually or as team, but the number of entries must be limited to one entry per person or one per team. Please note that The Architecture Lobby will accept only 50 thoughtfully designed submissions to this competition.

Fonts & Legibility
// Use of color is permitted, but the poster should still be legible if printed in grayscale
// Minimum font size of 8 points for legibility
// OS standard fonts, or fonts within Creative Commons, or Fair Use license

Official Seals
Must include relevant seals for agencies having jurisdiction. Seals for federal agencies will be available at http://kerningforacause.us

File Submission
Please include your name, industry in which you work, and city and state, so your work can be properly credited! For finalists, this information will be displayed with your entry at the gallery show.


Entries will be evaluated based on the following criteria, but do not necessarily need to meet all of them:
// Overall legibility
// Accessibility, or “openness”: Ideally, these posters could be printed by employers (or employees), and would not require purchasing the poster or use of professional or large-format printers. This could mean tiling smaller formats, such as 8.5 X 11 or 11 X17, using non-standard printing methods, etc.
// Aesthetic character


Submissions should be emailed to kerningforacause@gmail.com by the end of the day on Labor day, Monday September 5, 2016.


The first 50 thoughtfully designed entries will receive a physical copy of Asymmetrical Labors, as well as $5. On principle The Architecture Lobby does not support unpaid competitions, and hopes to extend a small allotment for compensation of entrants’ time. As a grassroots organization, it is difficult to provide a large stipend, so please consider this a small gesture of The Lobby’s beliefs. We will keep the website updated with the number of entries received, so please consider an early submission! One entry will be selected as the overall winner, and its creator will receive a small prize package of $100 and a selection of books from Architecture Lobby authors.


The Architecture Lobby is an organization of architectural workers advocating for the value of architecture in the general public and for architectural work within the discipline. Through a growing networks of chapters around the world, we organize events that lobby the architecture community for better labor practices and to recognize the value we contribute to society. For more information, please visit http://architecture-lobby.org

Go to the competition’s website