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Victoria University students join the war on smoking

Monday 12 September, 2011

Victoria University graphic design students have created anti-tobacco designs that could be used in public health campaigns to educate the community on the health effects of smoking.

Nicola Roxon and Todd Harper with students Caitlin Ward and Georgia WattsThe project was developed by the Federal Health Minister and Member for Gellibrand The Hon. Nicola Roxon MP and Mr Todd Harper, CEO of Cancer Council Victoria.

The Advanced Diploma of Arts (Graphic Design) students were provided with a client brief by Ms Roxon and had five weeks to design one poster and a series of postcards.

16 designs were completed and Ms Roxon and Mr Harper were on hand to judge their work.

Ms Roxon told the students that the project would prepare them to be ‘industry ready' by making them meet the requirements of a client brief and to experience what it's like to compete for design work in a real-world situation.

"One of the challenges with anti-smoking campaigns is demonstrating the effects of smoking over time, so it was up to the students to illustrate this point," Ms Roxon said.

This project was particularly topical as the Government's world leading legislation to mandate the plain packaging of tobacco products passed through the House of Representatives the previous week.

"The power of design and marketing is why this project is so important. As creative designers I thought you would relish this opportunity to look to the past and modernise it in such a way that it reflects the reality of smoking as we know it today," Ms Roxon said.

"Tobacco is not like other products, the pack is not opened then thrown away, it is carried around by the smoker and continually brought out, reinforcing brand and personal identity and exposing the marketing to social groups and children."

"But the glamour is gone. We now see tobacco for what it is - in a generation we've replaced the glamorous images of James Dean and the Marlboro Man, with the gritty reality of smoking - clogged arteries, amputated limbs or a life cut short by cancer," Ms Roxon said.

Due to the quality of the student's designs Ms Roxon and Mr Harper were unable to select just one winner.

The two winners were Ms Caitlin Ward for ‘No ifs no butts, smoking kills' which shows an Electrocardiogram (ECG) being flatlined by a cigarette butt and Ms Georgia Watts for ‘Just another daily routine' which shows a young man eating cigarette butts from a breakfast bowl as part of his daily routine.

Mr Harper told the students about his experience with public health awareness campaigns and why these two designs in particular are so effective in getting the message across about the dangers of smoking.

"While the latest figures show the number of Victorians who smoke is down to 15.3%, there is still a long way to go before smoking is no longer a major health problem," he said.

"Nearly 4,000 Victorians die every year as a result of smoking so tobacco must remain a public health priority. Successful social marketing campaigns like the ones we are seeing in this competition will be vital to our progress."

Students' designs can be seen below:

No ifs, no butts. Smoking kills.
PDF iconPostcard designs: No ifs no butts (114kb) 

Just another daily routine 
PDF iconPostcard designs: Another daily routine (238kb)

Smoking cuts into lives.
PDF iconPostcard designs: Smoking cuts into lives (138kb) 

Poster of a heart - don't abuse me or you'll lose me
PDF iconPostcard designs: Heart abuse (191kb)

Poster - Smoking kills. Don't kill your family too.
PDF iconPostcard designs: Smoking kills families (231kb)

Poster - Cancer sticks
PDF iconPostcard designs: Cancer sticks (99kb)