For any purpose that it is meant to serve, design should be shaped by the local context since it serves both as a mirror and an agent of change for the local society in which it is used (Moalosi, Popovic, & Hickling-Hudson, 2006). In essence, creating a design for a society without considering the cultural beliefs and social practices of a society may be useless because the design may lack meaning to the people of that society. Therefore, to be sure that a design will have an impact on the group of people you are creating it for, you have to create it while considering how these people will relate to it, and the only way you can do this is by knowing their social, political, location, and environmental context (Raynsford & Lipton, 2000). This is true because your design will be meant to serve the needs of this group of people in their unique social, environmental, location and political context.
Following this argument, a public health design that is meant to show the Indonesians that smoking is dangerous has to be based on the things that the Indonesians term as dangerous. It has to be created in such a ways that it scares the Indonesians first before it makes them scared by the effects of tobacco.
Interestingly, what is dangerous to the Indonesian is not necessarily dangerous people from other societies, and this applies to all societies in the world. For instance, designs of skeletons and dead bodies have been proven to be effective for societies with the western culture such as the Australian society. Such designs, however, have little impact on the Indonesians since they are less afraid of dying as compared to the Australians (Peveto, 2001). Many Indonesians would gladly give their lives to protect their religion while almost none of the Australians would do this. This means that the Indonesians view life lightly and as a thing that has less value than some things such as religion. For many Australians, however, life is the most valuable thing they can have and, therefore, they cannot willingly exchange it with anything else. Therefore, a skeleton design that is meant for spreading an anti-smoking message would be highly effective to the Australians since they fear death and are not used to it. This design would, however, have very little effect on the Indonesians since they do not fear death, and thus would not fear anything associated with death.
An effective anti-smoking design for an Australian society (Clymer, 2015)
An effective anti-smoking design for an Indonesian society would be one that is associated with the Indonesian ghosts. These ghosts are among the most feared things in Indonesia and people of this country term anything associated to them as dangerous. For instance, the Indonesian believe the Pocong to be a very dangerous ghost and no Indonesian would want to be associated with it. Therefore, creating an anti-smoking design that includes a Pocong would be effective for an Indonesian society since it would associate smoking to the Pokong. An Indonesian thinking of smoking would remember the Pocong and get afraid of smoking as he/she is afraid of smoking.
(A Pocong used to make an anti-smoking design (Lewis, 2013))
Clymer, J. 2015, ‘Smoking kills more than we knew’. viewed 11th February 2017
Lewis, D. 2013, Smoking kills: Quit smoking pal. website, viewed 11th February 2017.<http://quitsmokingpal-harrow.blogspot.co.ke/2013/03/smoking-kills.html>.
Moalosi, R., Popovic, V. & Hickling-Hudson, A., 2006. Culture-driven product innovation. Proceedings 9th International Design Conference, 1(2), pp. 573-578.
Peveto, C. A. 2001, Death and ethnicity: Apsychocultural study-twenty-five years later. University of North Texus , pp. 1-240.
Raynsford, N. & Lipton, S., 2000. Urban design in the planning system: towards better practice. BETR Environmental Transport Regions, 1(1), pp. 1-99.