An eleven year study that follows the lives of thousands of youth across the country needs a name and brand identity that can empower youth to partake. This identity has to adapt for change over time, and welcome in a vast range of personal identities and backgrounds.
In collaboration with Social Research Centre, and based on co-design with youth representatives, spur: crafted a new brand identity and name based on the concept of a Generation's needs and contribution.
The survey is now live with 70,000 students across the country participating to share their experiences for the coming decade.
Big Data for Better Outcomes
What decisions would you make for the country, if you had a window into the past and future?
For years, the Australian Government - with support from the Australian National University - has been asking this sort of question in the form of a longitudinal study of Australian youth: The Post Schools Destination Survey (PSDS)
PSDS is a longitudinal youth study that captures the insights and experiences of young people to better understand how opportunities in education, training, and employment emerge from a range of factors in young people’s lives.
The study follows a youth cohort of thousands over the course of a decade, capturing their input as their lives unfold and change. This project is a joint initiative between Australian state and territory governments, and aims to improve outcomes for young people through a better understanding of their needs, drivers, and outcomes.
This generates incredibly important data on how the lives of a generation change and where resources can be best placed to most positively impact the future of the country - by investing in specific regions, schools, or other programs. This has the potential to drastically change future generations for the better.
Yet, an eleven year study that asks participants to regularly provide their updates and experiences has a few challenges: it has to grab the attention of the youth cohort and keep it over a decade, while creating a safe and engaging experience for a vast range of youth identities.
spur: was engaged by the Social Research Centre, who were in the midst of updating the survey for this new cohort of youth, to design a concept for an engaging, supportive, and enduring identity for the study.
A longitudinal youth outcomes study by any other name…
The PSDS needed a new identity.
Its greatest risk was to appear too stuffy and Governmental, and not appeal to a youth group that will change and grow over time.
To start with, spur: worked with the Social Research Centre to craft a co-design process that would work with youth representatives to shape what they wanted to see, feel, and experience. Youth representatives included a range of identities from across Australia, and focused on what they found interesting and how they would gain a sense of purpose and accomplishment from participating in a study like PSDS.
Personas also formed the bedrock in developing, refining, and testing a potential brand identity. The personas were informed by key insights from the co-design process to maximise engagement with the study by all stakeholders, especially the youth participants, with some key takeaways:
• Headspace is dominated by thoughts about school, exams, choosing subjects, social groups, extra-curriculars, part-time employment, thinking about the future of further education/training and career prospects.
• Communications should balance between formal and informal in tone with text, email and Instagram thought most effective for getting in touch.
• Study accessibility via clear effective communications, and permission for assistance from parents, teachers or carers for those who require it.
• Interest in alt-culture, subculture, non-mainstream, philanthropic aspects, and authenticity.
A new name
First off the rank was a new name. We landed on changing the Post Schools Destination Survey to ‘Generation’.
Any great brand starts with the name. In comparison with Post Schools Destination Survey, Generation reflects a few key elements important to conveying the character of the project and brand:
- The project focuses on a cohort of youth and their unique experiences through a period of time, very much like a microcosm of a generation.
- Generation also implies the creation of something, in this case, the generation of stories and data that informs the project study outcomes.
- As a brand name, Generation carries a sense of action and activity –it is a doing brand, and conveys a sense similar to a social movement.
- Generation, as a word, contains ten letters, cleverly aligning to the length of the study in years.
An informative tagline is recommended to drive the audience directly to what the brand is conveying:
Generation: 10 Years of Youth Insights
Language & Voice
Generation should use a tone and voice that is down to earth and smart, but not pandering or trying hard to be ‘hip’. Slang should not be used as youth jargon change quickly and brand will erode if it sounds forced.
The youth should be highlighted as much as possible with positive and supportive voice, utilising upbeat language and tone.
Generation as a brand should avoid highlighting this as to not alienate some demographics and groups.
Participants are likely to care less about the Australian Government so much as they are to care about the future of young Australians.
• Instead of saying ‘A project funded by the Australian Government’ in youth facing media, Generation should opt for something akin to ‘Powered by youth, and supported by public Funds’ to centre youth as the most important people in the project.
• Avoid using the Australian Government coat of arms on the website and materials, as this has negative connotations for some groups.
• Generation should include, on all media, a visible acknowledgment of First Nations, including respect paid to the lands on which the project is headquartered or primarily operated.
• Generation should reference traditional place names wherever locations are used and not already named using First Nations language e.g. Brisbane / Meanjin or Melbourne / Naarm. If a location has had its traditional name reinstated, use this first e.g. K’gari (Fraser Island) or kunanyi (Mt Wellington).
Palette, Font and Imagery
Reflecting the input of the youth co-designers, Generation utilises visuals that speak to both the esteem and official nature of the project but are also authentic, lively, and youthful. Generation’s base palette is a vibrant blue and pink, as well as an extended palette.
Roboto has been selected as the font - a clean, simple and modern font that is both accessible and easy to read.
The visual language is minimal but colourful where photographic imagery is used, bias should be toward groups of young people to reinforce a sense of community and group activity.
The Timeline Motif
The Generation brand includes a regular motif - a timeline made up of thin lines to denote the passage and marking of time. The Timeline motif is a useful device that explores data, ensures the familiarity of the identity, but also to help audiences understand its core element: time.
Generation is now live, with 70,00 students across the country participating in the study. By contributing, young people are given a voice to help shape the future of education for generations to come.