Festival Community
This website is using cookies to. By clicking 'OK', you agree with our cookie policy. More about this.


visual communication practice

Savers Credit Card


Description of idea

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

For this brief I wanted to draw attention to the financial loss created through the accumulation of unnecessary personal debt. The most common forms of personal debt are Home loans, Personal loans for vehicles, and credit cards. On the topic of necessity, it is clear that people need somewhere to live, and owning your own property is a way to ensure that your income generates an asset as opposed to paying rent. Owning a vehicle is practically a necessity in nearly all modern societies, especially in comparison with credit cards. It is unrealistic to think that a majority of people can afford to save enough to buy a house or vehicle outright, so in these cases credit is a reasonable option with valuable outcomes.

I chose to aim my project at credit card users, as this is the least necessary kind of personal debt. Although it has some short term advantages, credit card services cost money that users will never be reimbursed. The service used to sell credit cards to us as consumers is access to more money than we have in the present, based on the premise that we will earn more in the future. This convenience comes at a cost, which is strategically veiled within complex compound interest systems and a variety of seemingly small fees. These systems make it too confusing and complex to work out exactly what we are paying for this credit, and customers rarely take time to assess the implications of taking on this kind of debt.

With this project my aim is to dissuade potential credit card applicants from creating this kind of personal debt by presenting them with a quantified description of the potential loss they are considering. In relation to the brief my project is based on the idea that debt perpetuates itself, and in the case of credit cards it is an unnecessary debt we choose to create which costs us more than it initially appears to.

What kind of communication approach do you use?

. My approach was to present data in a manner which clearly quantifies the costs incurred with the use of a credit card. After some research it became apparent that the nature of data I was trying to collect was ambiguous, vague, and subject to constant circumstantial fluctuation. Any simple way to forecast costs is out of the question as interest is calculated daily, and fluctuates with any account activity as do many fees. This system created a challenge for me to come close to calculating a hypothetical average figure, demonstrating the difficulty involved in monitoring spending for card users.
The format in which data is presented can give completely different impressions depending on many variable elements. This is how credit offers which can be financially crippling can be marketed so successfully. By using the right ratio of time vs interest, a number of hidden fees in the fine print of contracts, and an accent on the spending power granted by this service, credit card debt, like its patrons can be easily manipulated.

I calculated some statistics derived from average interest rates of common credit card offers and minimum payments required for common credit limits. I chose to deliver the data in a ratio format banks would never use because it reveals flaws in the credit system which would most likely deter people from applying. As a way to reach my intended audience – potential card applicants, I presented this data by appropriating existing banks price structure layouts, utilising their sales techniques with an opposing format of information. I took this approach to reach people who had already made the decision to take on credit, and are actively seeking a bank credit card service. In my opinion this was the strongest way to communicate a more realistic outcome using the available data.

The Savers Card
The conclusion I came to was the Savers card, on par with companies like Visa, or Mastercard, the Savers card name and system can be attached to cards developed by banks themselves. The idea is that this card doesn’t actually function in any way but by choosing it you are opting out of any other credit contract and gaining all the money potentially lost in fees and interest, it is like a financial placebo. The savings suggested in all promotional material are presented as actual earnings, as though you will be gaining extra money from this card when in fact it is just money you will not have to pay to the bank if you were to get real credit.
I created a mock DL promotional brochure for a National Australia Bank savers card, complete with sales pitch, tables of financial data, application form, terms and conditions, corporate disclaimer, as well as the actual card itself.

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

This exercise will benefit people who cannot really afford to spend the portion of their earnings required to maintain a credit card debt for the sake of the illusory financial flexibility it offers. These services are presented to consumers as something which is sustainable to them, but like most debt, requires more debt to resolve. These brochures offer a more realistic view before a final decision to acquire debt has been made, and where successful will prevent unnecessary financial loss.
This outlook on credit will encourage people to learn to manage the money they earn, instead of losing a portion of their life earnings to the banks for the sake of materialistic impatience. This is a long forgotten skill which is more valuable than the money which it saves. It will also prompt people to be more discriminant about debt when choosing which debt is necessary to take on. Overall it should make people question personal debt as a lifestyle choice that they have some control over instead of a lifestyle necessity that no one can live without. The value of this choice affects everyday life and personal wellbeing, both directly and extending to family and friends of credit card users.

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

Through this project I have learnt about the ambiguity of information communicated to consumers in relation to the marketing of personal debt. This involves manipulating the perception of facts through misleading methods of data communication to create confusion, while clearly and simply illustrating the desirable aspects of a service as an alternative to this confusion. This method is used as a device to cultivate ignorance, laziness, and blind trust towards banks.
I have also learnt about the power of choice which is both sought after and subdued by advertisers who gain trust with formulated information and then persuade people to unknowingly make choices which are not necessarily the most advantageous to the consumer. Choice is what the consumer has yet the consumers environment communicates the ideology that there is no choice but to buy and own more than we can afford outright. The impact of this environment is obviously effective given the commonplace attitude taken in regard to credit card use in current times.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

This communication works because it offers an unseen truth in a context of money, which demands attention. When someone is considering applying for a credit card they are already engaged in a financially ambitious thought process. The typical format of insight offered by banks alerts no warning of potential loss, yet offers rewards and completes a process already mentally undertaken by the uneducated consumer. Though the information offered in this brochure would be considered somewhat unusual within the field of credit sales, it would be more likely to be rejected or overlooked if displayed in a radical or out of place way by people who have already decided to acquire their credit cards. For this reason I chose to appropriate an existing NAB brochure, replicating the visual aesthetic of NAB’s data display to seamlessly mock the experience of absorbing information from the bank itself.
The tables in the brochure offer a more understandable perspective in regards to actual data, giving a tangible forecast of costs using timeframes which define our understanding of this financial commitment and its outcomes.

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

These brochures and cards have been designed to visually replicate the Banks design styling, in order to replicate their interactive function for those expecting this particular kind of communication. To complete the process, they would be placed in the same brochure displays as the material which they replicate, in the bank branches themselves. This ensures they are in the best possible location to be received by the intended target audience.
This strategy cuts out the need to try and gain people’s attention and interest, and enables the device to deliver the information in a simple straightforward manner which is the basis of this communication. The effect of this ‘ambush’ strategy is that by the time people realise the stance of the material, they will most likely be engaged in the information and recognise it’s loyalty to the wellbeing of the customer as opposed to the bank.
This is the most effective way to achieve the desired outcome, to deter potential credit card applicants from taking on this form of personal debt. It reaches only people considering this service enough to proactively seek reading material on the topic, and communicates a very relevant truth, in realistic timeframes proportional to experiential outcomes.

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?)

There has been no effect as it has not been implemented in the public space yet

Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

Although not the most finished 'credit card' submission to the festival this year, this one is based on an interesting idea of the savings you make by not being in debt. This forms the basis of a good project that has a real potential to communicate and persuade.

I would be interested to see this mock up progressed and much more time spent on the design, as at the moment they do not quite work as spoof cards or supporting documentation. This is the strength of graphic design that we have all the skills to make this work, to get passed that initial rejection and get people to read the message.

Once you explain the amount of wasted interest people pay of debt, make it visible and clear then then are much more likely to find other solutions, and a credit card does not sound like such easy money anymore.

This project still needs a clear tag line - the saver logo works - although the anti-credit card line immediately situates it as a political project which will put off most readers. The question is how far do you want people to read before you reveal what the project is actually saying, it is often a fine line and this one says it too soon.

View other works commented by Tony Credland  ››

Other comments

No comments yet

Curators comments

This work has been commented by 1 curator(s):
Tony Credland go to comments ›

Entry details


Savers Credit Card


The card that pays you

Concept author(s)

Charles Mayfield

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

Concept development, research, design, production



Competition category

visual communication practice

Competition subcategory


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

Griffith University, Queensland College of Art. Visual Communication Design.