Key art for The Blinding of Isaac Woodard by SJI Associates

The Vision Behind the Key Art of a Civil Rights Icon: The Blinding of Isaac Woodard

Some stories are so powerful they reverberate throughout history. “The Blinding of Isaac Woodard” is one of those stories. SJI Associates (US) won Graphis Advertising Gold for their key art campaign promoting the film sharing Woodard’s story for client American Experience Films. Woodard’s story is a pivotal moment in American history, as his brutal beating by a South Carolina sheriff sparked national outrage and galvanized the civil rights movement. SJI Associates had the daunting task of creating key art that accurately portrayed this horrific incident without being sensationalist or exploitative. The result? A haunting image that shows Woodard with a stripe of the American flag strategically positioned across his blinded eyes, symbolizing the country he fought for, and the country that betrayed him. Read on to learn more about how SJI Associates found the perfect balance for this project.

“Isaac Woodard is a pivotal figure in American history. As an African-American Army sergeant in 1946, Woodard was pulled from a bus in South Carolina by a local sheriff, brutally beaten, and left permanently blinded. His attack and injuries sparked national outrage and galvanized the burgeoning civil rights movement, famously motivating President Truman to declare civil rights as being a moral imperative. In response to Woodard’s attack, Truman issued an executive order desegregating both the armed forces and the federal government. 

“Woodard is now recognized as an iconic figure in the struggle for civil rights, and SJI was honored with the task of helping American Experience tell his story and the impact it had on advancing the movement for racial justice in America. The shocking images of Woodard following his attack played a key role in making the stakes of the civil rights agenda real for people at a national level, so we knew it was crucial to include one such image in the promotional art for this documentary. Pairing this image with a graphic of a deconstructed American flag brought us to this haunting, descriptive solution.”

Check out more of SJI Associates’ work on their website.

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To see more designs from SJI Associates, read Poster: New Entry from Stephan Bundi and Winning Work by Superunion, CAO Design, and SJI Associates.

Author: Graphis