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visual communication practice

Indeed Indebt, Simple math-addition

Description of idea

Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the festival outlines:

Debt can be in different forms. It does not always related to economics, bankers, and credit card as we all easily related today. It can relate to debt bondage, slavery, child labour and trafficking, which are still a current issue. Focusing on children illiteracy due to inherit debt and inherit debt itself, the posters are designed for the viewer to be in the shoes of child bonded labour through the interaction of the design in order to raise concerns on debt bondage and spread the word to the public to help ending this unethical slavery.

What kind of communication approach do you use?

I chose graphics as the medium. Since, debt bondage exist in developing countries due to poverty, using high technology medium such as, digital video might not be the best approach. Therefore, I would like to approach in an old way that putting posters in the streets. Also, because my concepts are concentrated on children illiteracy and inherit debt, poster will be suitable to execute my ideas such instance, last will and testament and workbook paper documents.

What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of your communication?

Through Indeed Indebt, it manifest the reality of debt bondage exists in modern society and that the debtors are often has no choice but to lend loans to survive and children of the families are born into debt in the cycle. This reminds us how we incline to expect properties and entitles when it comes down to inheritance, however it does not necessary obligation. Comparing to what the bonded children has to bear their families debt and or even sold to other creditors, we should be thankful of living in a modern and ethical society.

The last will bonded labour work options retrieve data from Anti-Slavery, World Vision Australia websites, journal articles, show how consumers like us can be the part of the cause. According to Anti Slavery, the situation still exists due to poverty and the demand from the world of cheap, exploitable labours (n.d.). Therefore, as a consumer, we should shop responsibly by supporting ethical products such as Fair Trade.

In Simple math-addition, it demonstrate education is crucial to help the children to get out of debt and that sometimes, our own assumptions and perception might tricked us, therefore, we should not underestimate the issue and judge by it appearance, but to investigate in depth before giving the opinion. Moreover, through knowing this problem, we should let the issues known and join campaigns of ending slavery.

Furthermore, apart from the confronting fact of the problem, it also remind us how grateful we should be to be able to receive a education in a developed country with no worries of family finance. Therefore, it reminds students to treasure their opportunity of studying.

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

Having a given topic that is not familiar to me is quite difficult to grasp the idea at the beginning. It is great to have freedom to do design with different medium to choose from and not limited to a tight outline, however it is quite troublesome. Since, I am not a business person, I have no desire to choose national debt but to choose something that I enjoy to do. Thus, I have been thinking for weeks of issues that are do with debt. Unfortunately, each idea (such as, smoking debt, ocean debt) is not strongly related to debt, which makes me frustrated. Until, I read news recently online about a Bangladesh girl, age 17, was deceived or sold by parents when she was 10. Owing money from creditor, she was has no choice but to work as a sex worker in slum district. Since, every transactions she earn is less than an Australian dollar, on top of that, she is illiterate, it is hard for her to escape this non-ending cycle. From that article, I was inspired to do debt bondage focusing on disadvantage groups such as, women and children and inherit debt. I learned to persist on searching things that interested me.

On the other hand to find sources from various ways such instance, websites, journal articles and news. When I chose to do an inheritance, my tutor suggested me to find a book call “make you own will kit”, but without easy access, I had to find other resources. At first, I had a hard time searching last will templates, but I finally found last will samples after knowing the correct terminology. Law regulations are complex that there are certain way of writing has to follow to be operative. Lucky enough, I found a journal article “ Speaking for the dead: voice in last wills and testaments” showing the choice of words and function of wills, I feel more confident to design the testament. After some experiments, at last I did not choose to make the last will in the law format, because the poster becomes a document full of text, that is hard to attract attention to people, so I have modify the last will to suit my content: the bank statement version showing the reality of bonded workers choice of payment and the simple personalise testament pretending the father’s will to his children.

When I start my design, I felt the design is not very attractive due to lack of visual elements. However, I learned that it does not have to be full of visuals in order to communicate the message well, because the most crucial thing is the concept behind. The execution is important too, but sometimes, having simple graphics and spacious composition can actually work as long as it suits the topic. As the thumb of rule, “Keep It Simple Stupid”.

On the other hand, I learned that bonded labourers are similar to slaves base on what they have to do, because they owe the money to the creditor and try to repay by their labour. The debtor often has to follow the orders that the creditor wants (Graeber 2011, p.1). The children of the debtor can be sold to others. A case study of an African woman in Niger called Asibit. She was born into a slave caste dated back to hundred years. Her family treated her like an animal and her owner, Tafan had raped her and gave their child to his brother as a slave (Raffaele 2005, p.66). It urges me the need to raise the concern through design, so more people will know these issues.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

The posters (Indeed Indebt and Simple math-addition) are good communication work, because the posters inspire the viewer to think of the problems the child bonded labour faces through the children’s point of view and to voice out the issue to educate others to help ending this modern slavery. In Indeed Indebt, it shows how fate has decided the children’s life, since a family member is indebted, the whole family are involved to pay off the debt and often affects generations. This horrible cycle prevent the children to receive an education from school to free themselves. In Simple math-addition, it shows how education is so important to change child bonded labour’s situation and how illiteracy can bring the children in a dliemma.

Indeed Indebt is designed based on a last will and testament in form of simple personalise last will and bank statement-liked inheritance. By taking people’s assumption from the first world countries, which, they assume, properties and valuables are inherit to them from their families, The posters are designed showing inherit debt using one of the case study Ningaiah from India. Along side, the bank statement version options of payment to the debtee are listed below to show the reality of debt bondage in modern society. The poster will act as a shocking element depicting our norm towards inheritance of receive goods from family to the bonded children of getting nothing but to incur obligation and have sympathy to people who are born into bondage.

Simple math-addition is created in the form of mathematic question on notebook paper. The aim of the poster is to get people’s attention on getting the answer from the question. Challenging people’s assumption of addition is simple mathematics and the tendency of solving problems. The problem is written in various languages, which tries to put the viewer in the child labourer’s situation and to show that the difficulty of working out the answer without basic knowledge of language and mathematics.
The languages are chosen from the case studies and information showing where debt bondage is occurring around the world. They are Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Lao, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam.

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

I would like to carry out my work at public spaces for example, bus stop stations, train stations and malls. Since, my aim for these posters is to raise the awareness of children under debt bondage to the public and educate the public about reality debt bondage on children, placing my posters at public spaces can achieve my purpose. As a bus traveler, I often wait at the bus stop for an awful long time and during that time it can be really bored, so I often look at the advertisement posters to ease my boredom. And that is the reason why commercials are placed in bus stations in the first place. Therefore, by putting my design on public spaces, I hope it can generate viewer’s reflection of themselves, on their current society and motivate them to step forward to give their support through the interaction of the posters.

Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change other media with your work- how?)

Not yet.


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Entry details


Indeed Indebt, Simple math-addition


Debt bondage on children

Concept author(s)

Rachel Yeuk Nam Lee

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

This friendly competition is set as VCD3 (Visual Communication Design) assignment, to inspire students to use their talents on social responsible design and think more, than just focusing on commercial designs. after reading news about child debt bondage recently, I decided to focus my topic specifically on inherit debt on children and the horrible cycle. Hope people will aware of these issues from my posters and give support to them.


Hong Kong

Competition category

visual communication practice

Competition subcategory


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

Griffith University, Queensland College of Art