Tag Archives: youngpeoplefriendly

Who are you talking to?

I saw these posters at the weekend and they got me thinking about the design process.

I can imagine some trepidation when this brief came in. Sex is a sensitive enough subject, plus anything with people in can be an equal opportunities minefield. Using animals instead is a good solution. They’ll brighten up the place (East London) and who doesn’t like nature? It can probably be done with stock shots (which, knowing local authorities, might well have been part of the brief). And they’ll be educational. Did you know this animal does it like this? Then bring it back to the point with ‘whatever way YOU do it, use a condom’. All good. Let’s go.

I like them but that’s what made me wonder – are they working? It doesn’t matter what I think because they’re not aimed at me. The URL suggests they’re for young people. I’m not suggesting young people aren’t interested in nature or that the posters are badly designed, but I can’t help thinking they need to do more. Even if the young happen to look up, would they recognise they’re being spoken to or would they think ‘aww, flamingos. Wildlife park.’ and turn back to their phones.

I’d like to think some research went on (more extensive than mine which involved asking one 14 year old what they thought*) but there isn’t always time. There is, however, always time to ask ‘does this creative answer the brief?’. When the ideas are discussed, and again when they’re settled. When the visuals are chosen, even when the work is complete, it’s worth revisiting the brief and checking you’re still on track.  ‘Does this solution say what we want to the people we want to talk to?’.

I don’t know. Maybe they started out looking quite different but the approval process watered them down – that can happen too (the people paying and approving are often not the target audience either). Or maybe they’re fine and teenage pregnancy numbers in the borough will plummet. Either way, if you see flamingos with their heads in the water, look away.

(*’wildlife park’)