The Skywriter

Organizing Tip #5: Make your visuals memorable


Organizing Tip #5: Make your visuals memorable

Rushmore banner

Nothing screams fun at an event more than having bright and memorable visuals. These can also help to distinguish your action and organization to potential new volunteers and the press. The great thing about visuals is you don’t have to be an artistic, barefoot college student with windswept hair pulling all-nighters to design them (although you get extra points if you meet those criteria). Nor do you need to have a professional photographer nearby to convey how great they are. Anyone can do these!

Also keep in mind, visuals will be very important for the next action – the Dirty Energy Hunt, where we’ll ask you to stand in front of a source of dirty energy and taking a photo that we’ll deliver to your congress members here in D.C. Find out more at

Now, let’s walk through some examples to get the creative juices flowing.

First, we’ve got our beautiful Louisiana crew posing for their Storm. Notice that they are carrying umbrellas and wearing rain jackets (with some extra zest from a guitar and flag of the world). They’re in the spirit of the Storm! One great way to make your event memorable is to have your clothing and props reflect what you are actually trying to convey! Nice work, Louisiana.

Louisiana Storm with umbrellas

Moving right along. Below, we’ve got something one step up from props – full-on costumes. 1Sky Massachusetts Regional Coordinator Geneva Boyer is in a polar bear costume, and Global Warming Education Network’s Susan Shamel in a self-made coal-plant costume (check out that cotton puff bursting out the top!). And who knew industrial-size trash bags could look so good? Though we’re not all as talented with a needle and thread as Susan, costumes can be self-made. When in a pinch, check out your local theater costume shop for a rental costume or even a department store with a costume section.

Geneva as Polar Bear

Great visuals are often the heart of the action itself. For example, take this 350 photo below from the October 24th day of action in 2009. These folks have pulled it together to plant a garden and clean up their community as part of a global day of action. The plants create the visual while also being the purpose of the action – the message they are sending here is thusly very clear.

350 dot org plants

We can’t all be vertigo-defying Greenpeace trapeze artists and sail over the Rushmore cliff to send a message to the American public. We also don’t all have the tools and access and cop-appeasing skills to project powerful visuals on historic monuments in our nation’s capital. But what we do have is the ability to think up some powerful messages, and put them on strategically placed signs to snap that winning photo that gets on the front page of your local newspaper.

projection on washington monument

At this point, you’re probably itching to jump out of your chair and start planning your Dirty Energy Hunt photo. As you plan this action, keep in mind what visuals will bring your action to the next level. And make sure to send them back to For a Dirty Energy Hunt example, here’s a beautiful photo of our development associate, Tama Griffith, looking determined in front of her neighborhood coal plant. Grrr!

Tama thumbs down coal

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