Final Presentation: A Lesson Learned, or a Semester Burned?


This post can be read along with my last post as a reflection on the course of our work over the semester (here)

I’m not going to attempt to mask it, I’ve been clear in a number of blogs, I was not happy with the outcome of this semester’s work, especially compared to the calibre of work produced by other groups (the Winter appeal, the Men’s shed and the Lenny and Tara shower bus were all stand out productions). While we learnt a lesson that representing Asylum Seeker’s plight is very difficult within the current political and legal frames, I feel this is a lesson we could have learnt from a single conversation, and perhaps could have been a more dynamic issue in itself to have actually focused on (lack of work rights, lack of study rights, lack of representation – I can see a video of people censored out the story in a whole range of places for example) These are issues we identified in early weeks after our initial discussion with Mohammad from Lentara

Ultimately. I’m unhappy with the lesson learned here, it’s one I already knew, I already knew it was hard to communicate complex issues around people seeking asylum. I have worked with Welcome to Australia for a while, and been an advocate around Asylum Seeker issues in numerous NGOs, what I hoped to learn from the Media 5 studio were lessons about campaign strategy, design, and implementation, not lessons about a particular cause of a particular client which I was somewhat aware of to begin with, these other lessons of strategy I observed much more in other groups, like the clothing basket and shower bus groups where they implemented the full design process, as they were starting from scratch. I think working with an existing program with many complex problems provided a less certain project direction, compared to working on a new product, service, or campaign where the goal was more clearly defined: i.e. launch this new product vs try to identify problems within this existing product that can be fixed. I guess that experience or comparison in itself is slightly useful.

We held strategy brainstorming sessions (image above), but I think we rushed these sessions to conclusions without actually coming to proper conclusions, participation and ethusiasm levels in these exercises varied greatly and undermined their success with members often turning up to a strategy or planning meeting late and then saying they could only stay for 20 minute when we’d all agreed to a one hour session, this continued right up until we had no time left for pre-production and needed to start producing content, and eroded much of my own motivation to the point I began not to care. Being able to see what other groups had produced in the time where we’d only been discussing the issue and trying to grasp it’s shape added to the anxiety and feeling among the group that we needed to act with more haste and just jump into production regardless of lacking solid preproduction outcomes. I made many posts early on in my blog about strategy and planning tools we could use to hone in on the most effective messaging, and was really eager and excited to apply them however every attempt was met with apathy and thus that momentum and enthusiasm waned severely and was replaced largely at times with a skeptism about what we would actually acheieve which likely only further undermined our progress.

The result of all of this was that while other groups were at a point of refining prototypes to meet delivery deadlines, we were still really struggling to work out the narrative or shape of our campaign and constantly changing direction simultaneously trying to launch into production, we were redesigning our campaign weekly, and without revisiting the strategy work we started with, trying to respond to challenges on the fly, in the end, I didn’t agree with a number of compromises made during the production and post phase, as they were not strategically developed, they were not informed by ideation, and breakdowns in communication due to time poor overcrowded schedules meant many decisions were made without input from the whole group.

Another issue I found was in our overall visual design, we had only one design student in our collaboration while other groups had many. I have studied design in the past and work in graphic design currently, but I was not being assessed on my visual design work, I’m enrolled in Comms Media, so I wanted to focus on the media side and leave design to those studying it. However every time we met our design work seemed not to have advanced at all, there were never a selection of concepts presented from which we selected and refined, and many times when designs were presented they lacked the continuity (repetition) required across a multiplatform multimedia campaign (sometimes in excess of 6 fonts were used across 2 posters which were supposed to be for the same campaign rather than different concepts), there were never colour palette options presented, there were never any brainstorming or sketching of different concepts done from what I could tell, essentially all the design mockups that were presented (few at that) lacked an exploration or understaning of Heirarchy, Typography, Direction, and Composition. They were flat, and not dynamic. In the end, myself and other media students had to take on the holes in our desig, I had to design a very basic last minute mock iup for the hashtag (which ultimately was dropped, I was unaware of that decision until we actually presented the final time) #WhatIsHome, despite this having been a central element in our concept for a number of weeks at the time, and the lower 3rd for the interview (which as a result of the dropped hashtag was cropped, rather than redesigned) despite our design student having known for weeks that we needed it I had to throw it together on the last day of video editing before presenting. We also didn’t end up presenting any poster designs mentioned in the social media calendar element which we’d also mentioned in prior client meetings, as none were designed, and the website design we presented didn’t tie into the video concept with the “icons” of home or in genenral aethetics. Our handover documents weren’t in a nice InDesign created document that was client worthy, but were instead a riff raff assortment of google doc collateral created and edited by multiple authors and lacking uniformity or standardisation seen in other groups presentations, This was an area which I felt sorely let down our presentations compared to other groups, and was well below the standard I would expect to present to a real world client. Much as design was not the area I was being assessed on, in hindsight rather than thinking it would be stepping on the design students toes, or robbing them of a learning experience, to take on design work for the assignment, I should have stepped in when I had initial concerns and just taken on the role as it is my forte, instead I tried to encourage more output from those who were charged with the task and to focus on area that were not my strong suit but I wanted to develop.

Overall I would say, play to your strengths instead of tried to be baptised by fire, unless you want to sadly end with the feeling of a semester burned rather than learned.

Some Images I worked on:

Lentara_ASP_design_UPDATED-page-013 Lentara_ASP_design_UPDATED-page-011 Lentara_ASP_design_UPDATED-page-009 Lentara_ASP_design_UPDATED-page-002 Lentara_ASP_design_UPDATED-page-003 Lentara_ASP_design_UPDATED-page-005 Lentara_ASP_design_UPDATED-page-006 Lentara_ASP_design_UPDATED-page-008 Lentara_ASP_design_UPDATED-page-010 Lentara_ASP_design_UPDATED-page-012 Lentara_ASP_design_UPDATED-page-007 Lentara_ASP_design_UPDATED-page-004 Lentara_ASP_design_UPDATED-page-014 Lentara_ASP_design_UPDATED-page-015

What was lacking from our process:



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