Group Rambutan – Light Signage Project

To combat the growing tobacco use in Banjarmasin, we worked in partnership with Vital Strategies to create light signage that would ultimately be used to raise awareness within the public and across social media channels via the following hashtags #AyoKeBanjarmasin, #KadaHandakRokok, #SuaraTanpaRokok.

Understanding Banjarmasin and its use of Tobacco

Known as the ‘city of a thousand rivers’, Banjarmasin is the capital of South Kalimantan that has a growing problem of tobacco use amongst youth. To grasp the city’s hustle and bustle and understand how tobacco is used, we conducted primary research by walking the streets of the city and reported our observations through the following map, which presents the ‘life cycle of a cigarette pack’.

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Observation Map (Group Rambutan 2018)

This map illustrates, through the use of symbols, where cigarettes are purchased, where and how they are advertised, where they are used and then disposed of. The small kiosks which sold the cigarettes displayed poster advertisements or large tarps which were produced and distributed by the cigarette companies. However, they were not only used for the purpose of advertising with their vibrant commercialised designs, the tarps had adopted a multi-purpose use and were also being used for shade. This was a key observation which we could potentially explore in the future.

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Tobacco Advertisements in Banjarmasin (7 Jan 2018)

The use of tobacco in Banjarmasin was popular along the river which seemed to be the perfect setting for locals to relax and smoke. The majority of the smokers seemed to be men leading us to question why there was a lack of women smokers. This prompted secondary research which revealed that this was due to mainly religious and cultural purposes but could also be for health reasons (Barraclough 1999).

Following this, it became evident that most of the cigarette packets were being disposed of in or by the river. The irony of this was they were polluting the river, one of Banjarmasin’s most iconic features. Overall, our walk allowed us to immerse ourselves in the contexts of the city we were designing for and ultimately resulted in a greater understanding of how we could create a successful design.

Ideation

Combining our prior research about smoking in Indonesia with our mapping observations, we began to consider how we as designers might respond to the issue of smoking in Banjarmasin both today and in the future. We were initially inspired by IDEO’s Diva Centres project in Zambia to inform young women about contraception and sexual health (IDEO 2017). We wanted to explore how we might be able to create an educational kit for youth in Banjarmasin about the health risks associated with smoking to prevent them from becoming future smokers.

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(IDEO.org n.d.)

Subsequently, we began undertaking further research regarding smoking culture in Indonesia, the nature of smoking advertisements as well as how an educational kit might actually be achievable in Banjarmasin. However, we were soon presented with our signage assignment and became aware that an educational kit might be too big an endeavour especially in such a limited time period and with limited resources.

Design Research

After receiving our brief, we begun undertaking visual research both via online resources such as Pinterest to explore both material and conceptual possibilities as well as investigating typography across the streets of Banjarmasin. We were inspired by the wide range of possibilities that we might be able to achieve with the style by utilizing layers of material and combination of colours.

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Similarly, we undertook a site visit to the watchtower to take some photos of the space where our signage would be displayed as well as to determine the size of the hashtags for the riverside (which had not been decided yet). Whilst we were able to get a good sense of the space, we were unable to ascend the watchtower on that day and neglected to view it from the other side of the river, which did cause us some issues later down the track as we tried to ensure the legibility of our signage from a distance.

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Whilst we enjoyed generating a wide variety of different options for our signage, following a meeting with stakeholders we were made aware of the strict limitations that we had in the materiality and layout of our signage. This meant that we had to reconsider our approach to the design to ensure that we fulfilled all the criteria.

The Design Process

Drawing inspiration from our research, we imagined various outcomes in which the signage could be executed in. Combining methods of hand sketching as well as re-working these with additional techniques on Illustrator and Photoshop, we wanted to test out what concepts were feasible to set up digitally. However, we failed to consider the time frame in which this were to be completed as well as the funding of this project. Once it was realised that the signage were to be hand-cut by the vendor, styles where the text was oblique, had shadowing or separated into multiple lines were ruled out to be economically and practically impossible. We also had to revise the typeface choice for the signage placed on the Menara Pandang to consider the marquee lights, which were to be added in afterwards. Issues relating to the weight of the material used and how it would hold up against the railings, as well as its legibility from a distance were also later recognised.

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#AyoKeBanjarmasin Design (Group Rambutan 2018)

After re-establishing restrictions and re-working our designs, the style above was noted as our most successful design as it complied to the criteria given. We then experimented with a variety of colour combinations to further test the visibility of letters. Although our initial colour choice was considered as the strongest idea, upon presenting these to the stakeholders it was suggested that the green outline should be black instead, as there was a greater contrast between the yellow and black which allowed the signs to be more visible in the dark. These changes were then made with the exception of the #AyoKeBanjarmasin sign, as it was argued that the city’s colours should be kept with relevance to the city hashtag.

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#AyoKeBanjarmasin Design (Group Rambutan 2018)

The decision of a geometric sans-serif font for the signage placed on the Menara Pandang was made to ensure the functionality in accordance with the marquee lights as well as its legibility from a tall height. On the other hand, the hashtags along the river railing were more stylised in order to appeal to the targeted youth of Banjarmasin. Rather than a sans-serif which created separation between the letters, the script font created movement and a sense of flow, alluding to the motion of water and thus, suited the city’s acclaimed title of Banjarmasin as ‘The City Of A Thousand Rivers’.

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#AyoKeBanjarmasin Design (Group Rambutan 2018)

Signage in Context

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#KadaHandakRokok #AyoKeBanjarmasin at Menara Pendang Banjarmasin (18 January 2018)

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#KadaHandakRokok #AyoKeBanjarmasin at Menara Pendang Banjarmasin (19 January 2018)

Reflection

Overall, designing for Vital Strategies and the city of Banjarmasin was an immense learning experience for Group Rambutan. Through fast-failing and quick iterations, we learnt how to work within a high-pressured environment to meet the demands of a project with a short turnaround time. Having the opportunity to design for a real life client taught us how to liaise with professionals who do not have the design experience to visualise the ideas we were generating. We were able to combat this through placing the designs in its context by creating mock-ups. Our biggest learning curve was understanding how to work within the restrictions provided by the client. As students, we are often given the creative freedom to let our imaginations run wild, however, working in partnership with Vital Strategies gave us a taste of the industry and the intrinsic rewards that come with designing for a great cause. Although our duties as designers have come to a close for this project, we hope that what we have produced will play an integral role in combating the rise of tobacco use in Banjarmasin and beyond.

References

Barraclough, S. 1999, ‘Women and tobacco in Indonesia’, Tobacco Control, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 327-332.

IDEO.org 2017, Diva Centres, IDEO.org, viewed 8 January 2018, <https://www.ideo.org/project/diva-centres&gt;

 

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