Designing the billboard in partnership with Vital Strategies and the community of Banjarmasin was an exercise of iterating and responding to feedback quickly. This went a long way in completing the final design to our satisfaction, professionally and on time. Our brief was to ‘consider local motifs, styles and language’ as well as communicate a ‘global message’. So, we wanted to promote the positivity of not smoking by mirroring Banjarmasin’s lively social media culture but to also give a voice to youths who choose to not smoke, portraying them as the real heroes.
The design audit was extremely valuable in gathering observations of attitudes around smoking, cigarette consumption and sales. For example, we learned that cigarette advertising is heavily glamourised but is also banned on the main streets of Banjarmasin and can only be found in small residential areas as shown on our map below.
The concept of a WhatsApp screen was based on our observations of interacting with the Indonesian youth, who are very connected with each other through messaging and Instagram. There was one point where one of our new friends asked for a WhatsApp number, but sadly none of us actually used WhatsApp. Given that the rise of youth smoking was a large focus of Vital Strategies’ work, we chose to communicate through a familiar, relatable format that would project an oppositional stance against peer pressure and the popularity of smoking in Banjarmasin. In the end, this seemed to work well as when we presented the design, Vital Strategies commented that the concept is easily transferrable across different languages and cultures.
The Design Process:
Had to use screen shots of WhatsApp to trace over so that the design was accurate. Started out using iPhone format. (Tjeng, F. 2018.)
Moved onto android format to trace over as this phone is more prevalent in Indonesia. (Shalsagiani, A. 2018.)
Had to insert the images of the logos so used this screen shot to trace over and ensure accuracy in the final design. (Tjeng, F. 2018.)
We were sent a final screen shot of the actual messages typed up from Ancha to correct any grammatical errors. (Rachfiansyah, A. 2018.)
A primary research-based approach seemed to serve our group well throughout the whole project as we based the final outcome on interviews with Banjarmasin students and residents, shown in the images below. This constant back-and-forth process of creating mock-ups and receiving feedback from the Banjarmasin youth was very effective in breaking down our assumptions and reinforcing the fact that we were designing for their city. Furthermore, this direct line of communication allowed us to pay close attention to detail so we could refine the wording and learn about cultural differences in Indonesia. For example, we discovered that android is actually more popular over here, so making that change would increase relatability. Similarly, 24 hour time is used more frequently than 12 hour time. This development is shown in our iterations below.
The first round of interviews were conducted with the Banjarmasin youth to understand why they do not smoke. (Group Durian. 2018.)
The second round of interviews were conducted to ensure the billboard was relatable to the youth of Banjarmasin and to fix any spelling errors. (Group Durian. 2018.)
Throughout the design process, we were always confident in our concept early on but the actual design went through many changes as we received feedback from Vital Strategies and accommodated the uncertain billboard dimensions and logos. We had to quickly adapt when Vital Strategies suddenly told us there needed to be multiple logos as we were not sure where to integrate them smoothly. But as a group, this taught us about learning how to successfully adapt to the situation and deliver what the client wants even if we were not sure how it would initially work. Creating a billboard also taught us a lot about designing to a larger scale. As oppose to designing at the actual size like we did initially, we soon discovered that we could design at a smaller scale by using vectors so that it did not pixelate when it was scaled up. Finding vector files was especially difficult for the emojis because they are not our own design.
First design started in iPhone format and 4x3m. (Group Durian. 2018.)
Design then changed to a 4x6m format using android and emojis. (Group Durian. 2018.)
Added in logo as instructed by Vital Strategies. (Group Durian. 2018.)
Vital Strategies wanted second logo so we made them into an image and added forward icon. (Group Durian. 2018.)
Final design included another logo as the group message image and size of messages was increased due to emojis. (Group Durian. 2018.)
In the end, this ongoing collaborative process was worthwhile to perfect the outcome and hopefully influence some change among the youth here. This opportunity from Vital Strategies to design a billboard, and contribute on this level in an event of this scale has been exciting, daunting and rewarding. As both designers and global citizens this process has challenged us but as a result we have taken valuable lessons from not only the experience but the people and city of Banjarmasin. It has given us so much more confidence heading into the early stages of our design careers. We would like to say ‘Terima kasih!’ to Vital Strategies for giving us this unique opportunity and we will never forget our first real world clients!
All type and images can be clearly read and message is communicated well. (Rachfiansyah, A. 2018.)
Final design looks great in real life and we are so proud of it! (Rachfiansyah, A. 2018.)
Growing up in Australia today, the harsh consequences of smoking are regularly advertised. This is completely different to how my parents grew up in the 1970s, a time where the diseases linked to smoking were only just being discovered by scientists and doctors. Studies show that still only a few people understand the specific health risks of tobacco use. For example, a 2009 survey conducted by the World Health Organisation in China revealed that “only 38% of smokers knew that smoking causes coronary heart disease and only 27% knew that it causes stroke”. (World Health Organisation 2017.)
As part of an initiative to “make Australia the healthiest country by the year 2020”, (Cancer Council Victoria 2011) and knowing the cigarette pack has become an important means of communicating the risks of smoking, the Australian Government decided to fund a project to introduce what is known as plain packaging. From December 1 2012 all tobacco products were legally required to be in plain packaging, making Australia the first country in the world to introduce this top-down design led initiative. (The Department of Health 2017.) This initiative requires all tobacco products in Australia to be standardised and sold in uniform plain green boxes, typefaces and “contain graphic images of diseased smokers”. (White, V. Williams, T. & Wakefield, M. 2015.) It requires the removal of all branding such as colours, imagery, logos and trademarks. (2015.)
These were all done in support of the Tobacco Plain Packaging Regulations Act 2011. (Federal Register of Legislation 2016.) Its objectives were to “improve public health by discouraging people from using tobacco products or starting, increase the number of smokers who quit and reduce exposure to tobacco smoke.” (The Department of Health 2017.) Increasing the effectiveness of health warnings helps to reduce the ability that previous “glamorised” (2017) retail packaging had on consumers. I believe these improvements in how tobacco products are promoted through packaging are essential to reducing the unacceptable level of death and disability caused by smoking in Australia. This is because people are more likely to understand the side effects through confronting imagery as oppose to text.
Two years after the Act was introduced in 2012, the Australian Government commenced a “Post-Implementation Review” (2017) of tobacco plain packaging to “assess its effectiveness.” (2017.) The results concluded the Act is having a positive impact because in results released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there was a general decrease in the smoking rate, dropping from 15.1% in 2012 to 12.8% in 2014. (2017.) Cancer Council researcher Professor Melanie Wakefield also commented “about 20% of people who smoke made attempts to quit over the course of a month…after plain packaging, that went up to nearly 27% of people who made quit attempts”. (Wakefield, M. 2017.) Furthermore, Doctor Tasneem Chipty, an expert in econometric analysis says from December 2012 to September 2015, “the 2012 packaging changes resulted in 108, 228 fewer smokers”. (Chipty, Dr T. 2017.) It is evident that plain packaging in Australia has been successful when it is compared to countries like Indonesia, where this incentive has not been introduced. While the number of smokers in Australia is decreasing, statistics show that the number of smokers in Indonesia rose over the last year, from 31.8% in 2015 to 34.1% in 2016. (Reddy, K.S. Yadav, A. Arora, M. 2017.)
Although plain packaging has shown positive results in Australia, it also highlights problems. The World Trade Organisation granted Indonesia the right to challenge Australia’s plain packaging laws in 2014. (Moore, S. 2014.) Indonesia’s Trade Ministry director Bachrul Chairi believes Australia “breaches international trade rules and the intellectual property rights of brands.” (Chairi, B. 2014.) Chairi further comments that it removes an available avenue of brand advertising for cigarette companies. (2014.) Since Indonesia is the “sixth biggest tobacco exporter and provides jobs to more than six million people”, (Moore, S. 2014) there is an incentive to promote the tobacco industry. The final ruling is yet to be made.
On a universal level, the UK has followed Australia in the plain packaging laws as of May 2016, (Bourke, L. 2016) citing the decline in Australia’s smoking rate as proof that it works. In the future, Ireland, France and New Zealand are among several countries committed to following Australia and the UK in introducing plain packaging. (2016.) Consequently, with other countries coming on board, I strongly believe that plain packaging will continue to globally succeed in battling the tobacco epidemic as its graphic imagery showing the diseases smoking causes provides a much more powerful message than words on the old packaging ever will. We just need to convince Indonesia to follow this trend.
White, V. Williams, T. & Wakefield, M. 2015, ‘Has the Introduction of Plain Packaging with Larger Graphic Health Warnings Changed Adolescents Perceptions of Cigarette Packs and Brands?’, Tobacco Control, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 06-11, viewed 11 December 2017.
World Health Organisation. 2017, ‘WHO Report On The Global Tobacco Epidemic: Monitoring Tobacco Use and Prevention Policies’, Bloomberg Philanthropies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 19-25, viewed 10 December 2017.
Batik is an Indonesian heritage from the 19th Century, derived from Javanese words amba, which means “to write” (Daszak, P. & Howard, S.E. 2011), and titik, “to dot.” (Daszak, P. & Howard, S.E.) It is a fabric that has been decorated using a “wax resist dyeing method” (Daszak, P. & Howard, S.E.), where the batik maker applies a pattern of hot wax to a cloth. Once the wax dries, the fabric is either brushed with or dipped into a series of dyes. When the wax is later removed, it preserves the intricate patterns of unstained cloth. (Murinto, P. & Aribowo, E. 2016). As I naively thought, batik is not just a combination of colour and pattern, but are symbolic, with each image and every colour determined by traditions and in turn, imply unique meaning. Each batik is different due to influences by local cultures due to “colonial rule, wartime occupation, trade and other geographical factors.” (Henn, C. 2004). Just like my family has a different patterned Scottish tartan to another, throughout all parts of Asia (not just Indonesia), batik can be defined according to “pattern, colour, or fabric” (UNESCO 2009) and carries great social, cultural and political significance.
Today there are “over 2500 batik motifs patented” (Marini, T. 2016) and the development of batik across Indonesia is still happening along modern and traditional influences, so I will only describe a few. Based on the general pattern and colours, “batik in Java is usually divided into inland, also known as pedalaman batik and coastal, pesisir batik.” (Emeralda, E. 2016). Pedalaman batik, especially from places like Yogyakarta and Surakarta as mapped, it is regarded as the oldest form in Java. The absence of external influences such as religion or culture is demonstrated through the “earthy colours used such as black, indigo, brown and yellow” (Emeralda, E.). Another colour was a brown-yellow known as “sogan” (Emeralda, E.) made from a “native tree dye.” (Emeralda, E.)
Conversely, in the northern areas of Java, Cirebon and Madura where trading was historically more prevalent, the batik reflects outside influences with foreign patterns and brighter colours such as light blues and pinks. Furthermore, evidence of trading with China is demonstrated in the patterns of Cirebon batik through the phoenix and dragon. (Emeralda, E.)
Batik was introduced to Sumatra, Bali and Kalimantan from Javanese influences as demand only increased with local development. (Ernawati, K. 2012). Here, batik known as “benang bintik from central Kalimantan”, (Ernawati, K.) was traditionally only used for weddings or ceremonies, but today is starting to pop up in local designers’ works. Batik from these areas are characterised by “bright vibrant colours,” (Ernawati, K.), usually done by hand as oppose to block printing. Today, flowers are particularly prominent in areas of Sumatra and Bali to support modern day tourism needs.
Batik in Indonesia is not just a combination of pattern and colour but a representation of the land in which it originates due to trade relations across Asia. Batik is so unique it is possible to identify its derivation through pattern and colours. I am looking forward to seeing this in different parts of Indonesia, particularly Kalimantan when I visit in January.
Daszak, P. & Howard, S.E. 2011, ‘Punctuated Equilibria and Indonesian Art’, EcoHealth, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 134-5, viewed 04 December 2017
Murinto, P. & Aribowo, E. 2016, ‘Image Segmentation Using Hidden Markov Tree Methods in Recognising Motif of Batik’, Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology, vol. 85, no. 1, pp. 27-33, viewed 04 December 2017
Nicholl, A. 2017, ‘Map of batik across Indonesia.’