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visual communication practice

Captain, Iceberg Ahead!


Description of idea

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

My response to the concept of Debt did not originate with one of these outlines that we were given. My response was more of a personal reaction, an attempt to show the issue from one of my points of view. If I had to link it back to one or more of these possible ‘outlines’, then there it would be the overarching sense of threat found in both David Graebers text and the film Debtocracy. It is also a major theme of the documentary ‘Inside Job’, which I took the liberty of watching to further improve my knowledge of the subject. It is undeniable that both these texts cast debt in an extremely (and rightfully) negative light, showing many of the horrible ways in which people can and have been ensnared by debt. Upon watching, I was thinking, “How could people be so foolish as to become a part of this system” (somewhat hypocritically) and by happenstance, this was one of the themes I chose to address myself in my own work.

These texts also strike me as being very broad in their approach- focusing on the big picture and debt in terms of countries and such. This didn’t really make me feel anything- what relation do I have to debt on a global or even national level. Effectively none. I wanted to focus on the way debt interacts on a personal level, to the people individually. I see that as being a far more effective way to combat debt, which is exactly what I was going for.

What kind of communication approach do you use?

They are A3 posters, to maximise their visibility with the younger generations who could be influenced on how they see debt.

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

The way I see it, making anyone think about the issue effectively nullifies it. Realising the risk makes you that much more likely to try and avoid it. If even one person stops themselves and thinks before putting themselves in some debt, then I say mission achieved.

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

There was a lot that this work and indeed, this whole process taught me. If I was to come at it with a focus on the content, then it is undeniable that these works have truly influenced how I feel about and what I know about Debt. Before all this, I was most definitely one of those people who, although they know of debt, never really considered it that big a deal. I pay money to my parents weekly to pay off my computer, and rent monthly since I live at home, but beyond these insignificant familial debts, it had never really affected me. Now, after 8 weeks of focusing on just what this sort of thing can do to people, groups and on a huge scale, countries, it is no longer a matter that I can distance myself from. It will always be rattling around somewhere in my subconscious, ensuring that I follow my own message and remain aware and vigilant of what really constitutes debt, and how one gets there.

It has also affected my views on debt in terms of how it can impact those around me, specifically family members. While I had, up until this point, always kind of considered debt to be a personal issue, it is clear to me now that there can also be a very strong and serious social facet to the issue, and this is something that I feel will greatly improve my debt habits in the future.

That being said, this work has also influenced me as a designer, forcing me to really think through strategies and make use of those old creative thinking practices I keep locked up in the cupboard. Coming up with this concept was a long and arduous task, yet one that I believe ultimately benefited me as a designer, reminding me of the value of perseverance and hard work.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

I set out to create some works that effectively presented my message of going beyond what you see and instigated rational thought. I achieved this through the creation of thought provoking work that necessitates this level of scrutiny and requires one to actually think and consider the message I’m trying to make, which in turn puts the viewer into the mindset of investigating what they’re being told. As such, this work is successful in its communication of my desired outcome and its communication of my message.

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

Considering their medium, my works make the most sense placed in public areas where people may only glimpse them, but are encouraged to investigate further. Public transport would be one such place, in the city centre also. That being said, the major market for my work are those who are at risk of succumbing to these very habits and risks of debt and as such, places such as shopping centres would be a brilliant way to connect to the market at exactly the right time, as they are spending their money.
At least one variant of the poster is aimed at teenagers so both public transport and shopping centres (more so malls over grocery based shopping centres) would be ideal placements.
It is important to note that my work has been created as a preventative measure and as such should be being shown to those at risk, not those already in trouble. As they are, they do not provide any benefits to those already in trouble and may have an inverse effect, so one should avoid implementation in areas with a high percentage of the population in serious debt.

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 that I know of.


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Entry details


Captain, Iceberg Ahead!


The visualisation of the metaphor of Debt as an Iceberg

Concept author(s)

Dominic Carlin

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

All of it.



Competition category

visual communication practice

Competition subcategory


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

Griffith University