Community Education

Making Policy Public
Read more

About Making Policy Public

While the effects of public policies can be widespread, the discussion and understanding of these policies are usually not. CUP’s Making Policy Public (MPP) poster series aims to make information on policy truly public: accessible, meaningful, and shared. We want to create opportunities for advocacy organizations to reach their constituencies better through design and for designers to engage social issues without sacrificing experimentation.

Once a year, CUP issues a call for groups working to explain complex policy issues to a particular constituency. A jury of design and policy leaders selects four projects that would benefit from a visual explanation, and that would contribute to a positive social justice impact. CUP then issues a call for designers who would like to collaborate on these topics, and the jury selects the final teams.

Over the next several months, CUP manages the collaborative design process, provides art direction, research assistance, and an honorarium for the collaborators. The resulting publications are used by the organizations to better reach their constituencies through innovative design. Because they are portable and use visual explanations to break down complex issues, the publications make policy accessible and interesting to non-experts.

Publications are distributed directly by advocacy partners to their constituents and to other advocates working on the issue. In addition, CUP distributes the posters to audiences interested in art and design. Over 40,000 MPP’s have been distributed to date, directly to the people who most need to know about these important issues, from longshore workers to juveniles who have been arrested. The publications are contributing to policy wins and more effective public participation for groups from public housing residents to street vendors. They have also been lauded as models of socially-engaged design at such venues as the Cooper-Hewitt’s National Design Triennial.

Buy or download copies of the posters here. To respond to the next call for applications, join our email list, or visit the Making Policy Public website.


Janice Bartley Speaks at the Center for Urban Pedagogy
  • October 19, 2018

Janet Bartley, Advocacy Specialist for AHRC NYC, spoke about her experience working with CUP to produce the Making Policy Public project, What Does It Mean To Live In My Own Place?

  • NY1 News
  • March 09, 2018

The Public Utility Law Project and State Senator Leroy Comrie’s office hosted a free clinic on Friday, helping residents go through their utility bills. 

Download PDF
Worker Co-Ops Explained in the Center for Urban Pedagogy’s Latest Project
  • Impact Design Hub
  • May 03, 2016

CUP created the bilingual fold-out to explain the logistics of worker co-ops, comparing co-ops to typical businesses, outlining how one can start or join a worker co-op, and illustrating the daily employment life of a worker-owner.

Graphic Design to Help Figure Out Health Insurance
  • Impact Design Hub
  • November 06, 2015

To help the thousands of people in New York who still don’t have health insurance, the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) worked with Community Health Advocates (CHA, a program of the Community Service Society), designers Other Means, and illustrator Tim Lahan to create Figuring Out Health Insurance, a poster that walks individuals through the process of obtaining health insurance.