POST A: Designing Out Tobacco

Indonesias wicked problem with tobacco is clear as soon as you step outside of the airport. Buildings are riddled with posters, stickers and signs of different tobacco companies trying their best to have their brand be purchased. The designers who have poured their time into designing these advertisements have cultivated specific niche where if you quickly glance at their posters without really taking in what is being advertised you would assume it has something to do with sport or a gym or a protein powder but once you read the text you’ll see brands such as “PRO NEVER QUIT” or “PHILLIP MORRIS.” Design is everything when it comes to advertisement and these designers have enabled the tobacco industry in Indonesia so significantly that it seems almost impossible to undo the damage that has already been made, but through education and design activism over time this problem that is the tobacco industry in Indonesia could become a distant memory. 

Image I took while travelling from Yogyakarta city to Borobudur

The tobacco industry holds an inconceivable amount of power not only in advertisement, consumerism and actual smoking, but within the government too. Due to the significant political and economic influence the tobacco industry has, the industry is the Indonesian governments largest source of tax revenue (Tjandra, Ensor, Thomson, 2014). While the tobacco industry holds an incredible amount of power within the government and over the nation designers in all aspects of the word, also have the power to change the tobacco industry through consumer opinions etc. 

Image I took inside the Gereja Ayam “prayer house” in Magelang

Through design activism and creative culture designers can fight the wicked problem of tobacco by making an ethical choice to choose a path of design that tackled considered issues like the environment, health and politics. In an age where social media is one of the largest tools to share information and connect with others, that is an integral part of where designers should be implementing their action. Through campaigning and education sharing that through social media/pop culture to reach a larger audience and make an impact on younger generations who are also important pieces to the puzzle of designing out tobacco. 

Reference List

Tobacco & Cigarette Industry Indonesia, Indonesia Investments, 


Tjandra C, Ensor J, Thomson E, 2014,’Tobacco children: An ethical evaluation of tobacco marketing in Indonesia’, Edinburgh Napier University. 

Tjandra, N. 2018, Indonesia’s lax smoking laws are helping next generation get hooked, Jakarta, <>.

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