Post A: SYTC Yogyakarta

Upon visiting Yogyakarta – Indonesia’s “cradle of Javanese culture” (Dahles, H. & Prabawa, T.S. 2013, p.245), it’s clear to see the city’s pride through the design that’s found in every aspect of the environment. From the colourfully painted pedicabs to the bold walls coated with murals by the youth, it’s evident that “design plays a role in forming and communicating national identity in Indonesia” (Crosby, A. 2019, p. 53). However, within this rich city lies a poison rotting away at the heart of the culture. With its bright colours and encouraging messages you wouldn’t think harm of it, but let’s take a look at these examples.

Show Your Colours by Phillip Morris (Vital Strategies, 2017)

With its striking reds, blues, yellows and whites under the slogan “Show Your Colours”, these houses along Kali Code River in Yogyakarta “didn’t just catch the attention of local people – the stunt gained national and international notoriety” (Vital Strategies, 2017). Unknown to the residents, the village had in fact been transformed with the brand colours of Phillip Morris International (Indonesia’s largest tobacco company) to essentially be one giant advertisement (Emont, 2016) at an estimated exposure worth at US$220,000 a month (Vital Strategies, 2017). In response, the campaigns “Show Your True Colours” and #SuaraTanpaRokok (or “Voices Without Cigarettes”) was released in collaboration with Muhammadiyah Tobacco Control Centre and several organisations and activists in Yogyakarta “as a symbol of resistance towards the exploitation of the community by the tobacco industry” (Vital Strategies, 2017). Led by renowned local graffiti artist Koma, giant anti-tobacco murals painted onto these houses were unveiled on World Cancer Day. Although the tobacco industry has a tough grip on the community as the Indonesian government relies on the industry for “around 10% of state tax revenue” (Emont, 2016), the examples of activists working with the community shows that change can be made through the people.

Show Your True Colours (Vital Strategies, 2017)
Java Rockin’ Land Poster 2011 (Cranberries World, 2011)

Another example is the poster for Java Rockin’ Land 2011 posted around Indonesia, it boasts a line-up of bands like Thirty Seconds to Mars and Neon Trees. However, another name displayed alongside these artists is Indonesia’s second largest tobacco company, Gudang Garam (Hefler, M., Chapman, B. & Chapman, S. 2013). It’s not unusual for the tobacco industry to sponsor arts and cultural events such as these, but this sponsorship received a backlash due to the band’s high level of teen appeal and activity in philanthropic efforts in UNICEF and cancer charities. In response, a campaign by Tobacco Control was held through Facebook, tobacco control organisations, and Twitter to target the band’s management and press agents. In response to fan’s petitions, Neon Trees (a band with a history of antitobacco advocacy) announced that at the end of their set they would donate their earnings to an Indonesian cancer charity (Hefler, M., Chapman, B. & Chapman, S. 2013), and posters for Rockin’ Land post 2011 no longer feature sponsors by tobacco companies.

The examples of these two campaigns show the complex relationship between designers, culture-makers, artists, customers, and the tobacco industry. Each group is the source for cause and effect in the preservation of Yogyakarta’s culture.

References

Cranberries World, 2011, Java Rockin’ Land, CranberriesWorld.com, viewed 20 December 2019 <http://cranberriesworld.com/live/concerts/java-rockinland-festival-2011-2011-07-23/>.

Crosby, A. 2019, ‘Design activism in an Indonesian village’, MIT Press Journals, vol. 35, no.3

Hefler, M., Chapman, B. & Chapman, S. 2013, ‘Tobacco control advocacy in the age of social media: using Facebook, Twitter and Change’, Tobacco Control, vol.22, no.3.

Dahles, H. & Prabawa, T.S. 2013, ‘The case of the pedicab drivers of Yogyakarta, Indonesia’, Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, vol. 26, no.3, p.245.

Vital Strategies, 2016, Anti-tobacco advocates in Indonesia show their true colors, viewed 20 December 2019, <https://www.vitalstrategies.org/anti-tobacco-advocates-in-indonesia-show-their-true-colors/>.

Vital Strategies, 2017, Tunjukkan Warna Aslimu – Kali Code (1 menit), video, YouTube, viewed 20 December 2019, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi0ErxDxggY>.

The Perception of Cigarettes

The smell of Japanese cuisine wafts gently through the air before being engulfed in the flustered movements of waiters shuffling systematically around large round tables. Plates clatter and click against frantic discussion and small talk with eagerly pressed elbows firmly placed into a draped crisp white cloth. In the foreground is Admad a 20-year-old ITS industrial design student with a passion for design and activism. I begin my interview by introducing myself and discussing our mutual understanding of CAD and rendering software before beginning my inquiry into the tobacco industries vice-like grip on Indonesia and the perspective held by the Indonesian people.

One of the major concepts which I wanted to explore within this interview was the perspective of tobacco held by modern Indonesia. I specifically wanted to gain an understanding of the role of tobacco companies within Indonesia society in light of contemporary understandings of smokings ill effects and repercussions. From this understanding, I posed the question “Do you believe Tobacco Companies are beneficial for Indonesian society” from this question I entered with a preconceived idea that contemporary Indonesians would perceive tobacco companies as a negative influence. Admad responded, “tobacco companies are good for Indonesia because they provide so much for Indonesians”. This juxtaposed response possed a significant point of interest so I inquired further as to where this belief stemmed. Admad proceeded to inform me that tobacco companies make a significant positive contribution to society through the funding and implementation of community programs a notion reiterated in the quote “money from the cigarette industry is a major source of tax revenue for Indonesian Government” (Adioetomo & Hendratno 2001; Aditama 2002; Yurekli & De Beyer 2000). These community programs included sporting clubs and opportunities with Sampoerna being a noticeable example. Admad also informed me of the educational benefits tobacco companies provide Indonesia students evident within the copious grants and opportunities tobacco companies provide particularly evident within Sampoerna University which offers grants up to $41,000 for its top students (The Jakarta Post 2018). These insights made me re-evaluate my perspective of the tobacco companies particularly in regards to the level of power big tobacco holds over Indonesian society evident within the indirect propaganda utilised throughout Indonesian society.

Sampoerna University
Sampoerna University – 2018

Following our discussion of the benefits tobacco companies provide for modern Indonesia I returned to the interview and inquired into Admad personal understanding of the risks associated with smoking. I began by posing the question “are you aware of what smoking does to the human body?” to which Admad responded, “smoking can make you sick”. Admad response surprised me specifically due to the blanket statement nature of the response which spurred my response “are you aware that smoking can cause cancer among other illnesses”.  Admad rebutted in surprise “really” a notion reiterated in by the world health organisation in the quote “The underestimation of tobacco risks by general populations has a high direct correlation with smoking rates” (WHO 2012). After Ahmad’s response, we began discussing the various risks and illness associated with smoking including emphysema as well as short-term effects including difficulty breathing and a reduced sense of taste. This lack of knowledge in regards to the understanding of smoking piqued my interest specifically due to the prevalence of tobacco education in Indonesia and the plethora of information available online. This insight inspired me to pursue an information-based campaign which highlighted the ill effect of smoking specifically the short-term implications of smoking in the hope these would be more relevant for young people.

Once the food had been placed on our table we halted the discussion. In summary, the discussion provided invaluable insights into the nature of the tobacco industry within Indonesian specifically the perception of Tobacco conglomerates. The interview also provided an insight into the level of understanding possessed by a tertiary student within Indonesia which would prove valuable in the conceptualisation and finalisation of my team’s final solution.

Reference

Project: Pilihan Kita

Indonesia is one of the biggest consumers of tobacco in the world with 70% of their population being smokers (WHO, 2018). Aggressive marketing tactics and misinformation contribute to a misinformed understanding of the health risks associated with smoking. This is in conjunction with an endearing view of tobacco in the hearts and minds of the Indonesian people. In a distinctly difficult problem space, we worked to create a campaign focused upon recontextualising and subverting the aspirational perception of tobacco and highlighting the benefits of a smoke-free lifestyle in both the long and short term.

From our research, we distilled a series of key insights that influenced our ideation process. We categorised our insights into 3 pillars of a STEEP analysis: socio-cultural, economic and political  – as we found these to be the most dominant influencers of tobacco culture within Indonesia. We deduced that the most effective way to implement any real change would be to have a bottom-up approach. Through our ethnographic observations, and empirical insights it was evident that community enforced codes of conduct were received with more compliance than government legislation.

By drawing upon multiple streams of information we hoped to quickly gain a comprehensive understanding of the statistics associated with tobacco usage and its complex intrinsicness within Indonesian culture. In tandem with the information ascertained, we conducted interviews with a number of stakeholders to better understand the local perception of Indonesia’s tobacco industry, as well as their understanding of smoking-related disease.

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Following the collation of our research, we began the process of quickly interpreting these insights into various viable strategies in order to assess both a direction and intention for the rest of our design campaign. Following the research phase, we formulated a consensus on our target group being young Indonesians aged between 15 – 25.

Studies have found that a non-smoker identity was a major influence on intention to quit and was positively correlated with higher success rates of quitting (Meijer et al., 2015). In Indonesia, tobacco marketing has spent years building a powerful aspirational narrative around smoking, one that frames the protagonist (the smoker) as more successful, more attractive, more confident and more masculine. It follows that the antithesis of these qualities; unsuccessful, unattractive, meek, weak, etc., start to become associated with the passive act of refraining. For adolescent Indonesians that are highly affected by social and peer pressures, this highlights the importance of addressing and fostering social identities for non-smokers.

Our design solution is a campaign that outlines how to initiate these ideas to create a brand and hopefully a movement.

Pilihan Kita (our choice) is a campaign which draws on the aspirational marketing misused in Indonesia, creating a social identity for people looking to quit smoking. Stemming from second and first-hand accounts, we have created a multi-channel campaign that facilitates a safe and positive community for like-minded individuals.

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This notion of personal aspiration was continued within the creation of small comic strips. These comic strips effectively depict contextually significant aspirational stories with the aim being to change the perception of smoking as a roadblock on the path to achieve personal goals. The aspirations we chose to depict focused on the social and economic consequences of habitual smoking (which largely remain unnoticed by the Indonesians, courtesy of big tobacco). By focusing on these consequences we hope to open a new conversation about the effects of smoking in the present rather than long-term health impacts due to the relevance of these issues for young Surabaya’s.

The Instagram page is designed to facilitate a community and accountability which is proven to increase the success rate of quitting smoking. It allows people to share their stories, their motivations and location enabling them to feel like they are part of a community that is making the choice to live healthier, richer and tobacco-free.

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People who are interested in our movement can contact us via the landing page and ask for stickers and signage free of charge. This is a way for them to actually help us by making their tangible mark on public space. This will aid in ensuring the sustainability of the movement. Once we have amplified and instilled the message, it’s important to make sure that it remains present in the everyday lives of Surabaya’s, even just in a small way. Walking through the streets of Surabaya you are bombarded with imagery from Big Tobacco. We can claim back some space ourselves in our own small way. Signage can assist neighbourhoods and businesses in their efforts to keep public spaces smoke free, but this collateral also fosters solidarity and recognition amongst strangers. It fosters the notion that each one of us is not alone, and we have strength in numbers, that together we have the power to influence real and permanent social change.

Tobacco companies are not selling a product; they are selling the dream of a better future which is something much more powerful and mobilising. Our campaign recognises this. The way that we have chosen to respond is through the construction of another narrative. The difference is that this one is real, it’s based on facts and science, and it can have a positive impact on Surabayan society today.

In summary, the campaign is drawing on the success of aspirational marketing narratives that are commonly misused in tobacco advertising. Our multi-platform campaign will work to foster a new social identity, a community and as a result, an effective support system. With the implementation of this campaign, Surabaya could see the growth of a community that sees through the lies of the tobacco advertising and strives to support each other, working together to lead better lives.

REFERENCE LIST

Meijer, E., Gebhardt, W., Dijkstra, A., Willemsen, M. & Van Laar, C., 2015, ‘Quitting smoking: The importance of non-smoker identity in predicting smoking behaviour and responses to a smoking ban’, Psychology & Health, vol 30, no 12, pp.1387-1409.

World Health Organization 2018, Tobacco Control in Indonesia, viewed 8 December 2018, <http://www.who.int/tobacco/about/partners/bloomberg/idn/en/>.

 

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;