HI – The Hazard Initiative
HI – The Hazard Initiative
New Zealand is prone to natural disasters, especially earthquakes. In times of civil crisis a neighbourly support network can make all the difference. The Hazard Initiative is a subsidiary of Civil Defence, providing ways to initiate the pooling of community resources and encouraging students to get to know their neighbors.
Emma Watson www.emmawatson.co.nz
Arem Duplessis: This project has good intentions. Creating a support network for victims of a natural disaster is certainly a worthy cause. I admire the ambition but wish the execution was stronger. There seems to be no support system in place that allows for the project to work. The colorful graphics and speech bubbles are just not enough to make this project successful. With that said it was one of the better student projects we saw. Paula Scher: This is a good idea for a public service project. The idea of making civil defense information accessible and colloquial is strong. While it is very thoroughly executed, however, the delivery system and execution is a bit banal. The word “Hi” is cute but overused and some of the copy is too long to be engaging. Bonnie Siegler: I love this idea – combining civil defense with colloquial language in a fun engaging way. The designer has the beginnings of a great campaign but has not yet figured out the best execution. Additionally, her copy at times, is overly verbose while she has some great copy that she didn’t use except in her project description - “Be prepared. Say Hello.” The name of the program is terrific; the depth of the ideas behind it are too. The designer identified a problem that attempted to solve it and I applaud that. The design itself and the delivery system need further development. Mark Randall: The initial concept is very strong. Many of the elements clearly support the goals of the project to be really successful the project needs to evolve. Often there is too much text and it is not really clear how the entire project will be delivered. I applaud the designer’s efforts and encourage her to keep pushing this idea forward. It is a project that I would like to see succeed. It’s the type of project that can be served well by design. Steven Heller: At first glance and reading of the goal, this is a extremely worth project. Getting people to share community responsibilities is being tackled all around the world – and using graphic design is a good way to help mobilize. This is a fun campaign – “HI” is a nice anagram. But there are too many questions. How does this reach the audience in a serious way? And is the cartoon speech balloon the best visual prompt? This is conceptually a good – honorable – beginning. But making it function will take much more development.
HI – The Hazard Initiative
1. Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the challenge posed to you? Did it get you excited and why?
How can design be used to create a stronger sense of community within inner city Wellington? Living in Wellington has many positives, but one of the downsides is the earthquake risk due to a fault line running through the city. My chosen client was The Ministry of Civil Defense with the single-minded proposition ‘A unified neighbourhood will be better prepared to cope with natural disasters’. When I began brainstorming I did not know where my project was going, but I definitely knew what I did not want. I didn’t want my tone of voice to be stiff, dull or too serious that previous Civil Defense campaigns have employed. I didn’t want my target audience to brush off the work by default because it was government advertising. Getting the right tone of voice was crucial to my project. The tone was to be contemporary, fresh, fun, light, factual and trustworthy. I wanted a mutual relationship to be established with the target audience, so they would trust and respect my message. I decided to remove myself from Civil Defense and create a subsidiary. The Hazard Initiative (HI) was born. It’s a play on traditional government and official use acronyms whilst linking to saying ‘hi’ to your neighbours. I was really excited to undertake this project because of the framework of the brief I knew I was going to create some really innovative and unique responses. It was also an issue that I feel quite strongly about.
2. What point of view did you bring to the challenge? Was there anything additional that you wanted to achieve with this project or bring to this project that was not part of the original brief?
Through my original supporting research I found that out that inner-city Wellington had the least sense of community and the lowest belief in the importance of a community in society. The area is also densely populated due to a large urban population living in and around CBD, high-rise buildings and subdivided houses and properties. As a result there is a lack of transitional space (such as driveways and front lawns) where traditionally neighbourhood interaction took place and pride was displayed. A united community is also incredibly beneficial as people feel safer, crime, litter and graffiti is reduced and people are more respectful and proud of their neighbourhood. This issue of ‘lack of community feeling’ was particularly important to me as I had been living in Wellington City for four years as I attended University, and had personally experienced this ‘neighbourly isolation’.
3. When designing this project, whose interests did you consider? (Discuss various stakeholders, audiences, retailing, manufacturing, assembly, distribution, etc., for example.)
The target audience I chose was also fueled by my research. I discovered that the younger the resident, the higher the disbelief in the importance of community. As a result, students (18 – 23 years) living in inner city Wellington were chosen for my target audience. However I had hoped that my executions would be successful in communicating to all residents, not just my target audience. I also considered the fact that HI was hypothetically a Government subsidiary and therefore would need to carry the integrity of government communication. I also tried to keep the cost of the project realistic, with maximum impact from minimum output.
4. Describe the rigor that informed your design. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) If this was a strictly research or strategy project, please provide more detail here.
My project was a year-long labour of love. Half of the year was spent researching and synthesizing information, identifying an issue, and writing a brief. The second half of the year was spent solving the brief. In support of academic research I created surveys to gain insights from my target audience, and did some social experiments. For example I put my ‘pass the parcel’ idea into action by delivering the wrong parcel to my neighbours house and seeing if they would return it to me (which they did), and I also assaulted my University with a guerilla sticker campaign and watched to see what the reactions would be. A significant portion of my ideas and questions were also stemmed from personal experience of living in Wellington, and from traveling I had done to Europe the previous year where I was intrigued by the social psychology theory of Situationism.
5. What is the social value of your design? (Gladdening, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, labor-mindful, environmental, cultural, etc.) How does it earn its keep in the world?
Milton Glaser asserts, “Good design is good citizenship”. Throughout the duration of this project I have been interested in the role of social and moral responsibility within design. Specifically I have explored how advertising can be utilized to change behaviour and achieve social good within society. The benefits of my project is not only that residents will more educated and better prepared for natural disasters, but they will become part of a community network that has so many benefits.
6. If you could have done one thing differently with the project, what would you have changed?
I think in the current technological landscape social media plays such an important role in communicating information and keeping in touch with loved ones. New Zealand witnessed the power of social media after the February earthquake in Christchurch where groups were mobilized within hours to create search and help parties, and as a point of contact with the rest of the country. My project currently does not utilize social media and I think that I definitely need that component. I would like all of my communication to drive traffic to the Hazard Initiative website where people would receive information on natural disasters and how to be prepared. Residents would be able to login to their ‘street’ and see who lives in which house and what people can offer each other in terms of items or services. It will also give advice on how to talk to your neighbours and establish relationships. Eventually I would like it to be the go-to website for disasters, i.e. you could lodge a claim with the Earthquake Commission, see the size of earthquakes etc.