David Lance Goines – AIDS Prevention Poster

This poster was designed by David Lance Goines in 1985 for James Brown, M.D., the Director of Student Health Services for the University of California at Berkeley. The poster is entitled “AIDS Prevention,” and it was created as an interesting visual way to warn students against the dangers of AIDS. Goines has his own printing press at Berkley, the Saint Hieronymous Press, so the client, James Brown, likely contacted Goines through connections at Berkley to have him create the poster. In addition, Goines has been a well-known participant in political and health activism, starting early in his youth at the University of California at Berkley with the Free Speech Movement and going on to create numerous posters for clients in the health industry, such as this one for AIDS prevention, a pro bono poster for the Berkeley Venereal Disease Clinic, and a poster for Shasta-Diablo Planned Parenthood.

The poster features a 7-color design and was printed on a 17” x 24” sheet of paper using photo-offset lithograph. Most of the colors are cool and muted, with the red of the apple and the bright white of the flowers standing out from the background. The color red is widely recognized as the color for AIDS awareness and the snake can be used to represent protection, as it is wrapped around the red apple, seemingly guarding it and preventing anyone from coming close. The poster also features flat, easy-to-read lettering, which was a standard practice for Goines. The elements used in the poster do appear to fit the typical style of the time period, as many designers would use “elemental, symbolic shapes that were placed over a flat background color” (“Graphic Design in the 20th Century”), as Goines did with the snake and apple over the muted leaves in the background, “and they lettered the product name in bold shapes” (“Graphic Design in the 20th Century”), similar to Goines’s lettering in his poster.



“Aids Prevention.” Smithsonian American Art Museum, americanart.si.edu/artwork/aids-prevention-35892.

“Graphic Design in the 20th Century.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 2021, www.britannica.com/art/graphic-design/Graphic-design-in-the-20th-century.

“Poster 119: AIDS Prevention.” David Lance Goines Graphic Arts Posters, www.goines.net/Poster_art5/poster_119.html.