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visual communication practice



Description of idea

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

A critical design piece in the form of a tourist advertising brochure. It however differs from the standard, as it incorporates imagery and subtle references of the journey that many refugees take, into the recognised format of a tourism destination package guide. Political issues have seen an increase in displacement and people seeking asylum, many of who attempt to reach islands in the Mediterranean as a gateway to the EU. This was, and is still being met with resistance by several residents, as well as by some of the thousands of tourist that visit these popular tourist destination. By positioning the two together, refugee and tourist, the intent is to encourage thought as to why one should be more deserving of hospitality than the other. It also acts as a way for tourists to question what they might not find pleasurable about the same experience of travel, with or without the presence of refugee.

What kind of communication approach do you use?

A critical design approach using visual communication was used, where the format and images in the brochure resemble those that one might expect in a tourist brochure, as recognisability is crucial for elicitation of pleasure, yet confronting enough to challenge some prevailing views.

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

This benefits refugees through increased awareness and understanding of their situation. If we can recode the desire to give hospitality, particularly to those in need, it could work towards provoking action and change, which could create a more equitable society. While this concept does not address the underlying problem that refugees face, such as conflict and dislocation, it may go towards addressing some of the others, such as lack of shelter, unsafe travel and access to resources.

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

I learnt that design does not need to always provides solutions- that its power can lie in changing mindsets.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

It calls for the pleasure of giving and receiving of hospitality, based on the notion of human decency, rather than on a commoditised system.

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

By distributing it through the regular channels that one might access travel information.

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?)


Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

Hi Maria,

I really appreciate your project as a subversive piece of communication design that exploits a situationist form of détournement. It addresses a lot of complex issues related to the refugee crisis, the idea of borders, privilege of travel and toursim, etc. The core concept is simple, yet very rich in potential, and it could be very easily implemented as a real-world project.

This being said, I'm not sure the balance between the "elecitation of plesure" and "confrontation", and I feel the execution lacks some detail and nuance. More content in the brochure, would have allowed for more exploration of the project's subversive potential. What else do we normally find in tourism brochures, prices, places to stay, quotes from travellers, food and restaurants, key sites, etc. All these could have been included, but from the perspective of refugees.

This leads to my next criticism, which relates to addressing the issues a specific community faces, without genuinely including their perspective. Despite good intentions, the brochure feels like it was created by someone who has not had much contact with refugees. Obviously, this might have been a logistical challenge, but pointing in that direction, even as a hypothetical project, would be very useful and make for a far richer project.

Nonetheless, the core idea behind this project is very effective. If you are to take it further, I would research deeper into refugee experiences and then recode them to this format. In this way, I think the brochure could be a genuinely subversive communications tactic.

View other works commented by Kevin Yuen-Kit Lo  ››

In a novel (La patente) published in 1911, Luigi Pirandello, tells the drama of a municipal employee who is taken to court because it was considered by the community a jinx. The judge must evaluate a "belief" irrational and therefore elusive to the rules of law. It will have to fulfill the municipal employee providing it with a legal license, a mask that will replace the person.
Is not this the condition that Europe is experiencing towards refugees?
Equipping them with the "refugee" license determines the deprivation of one's identity as a people. Pirandello suggests, just as Maria brought in Destination, the monetization of this license / mask attributed by law.
A tour guide for the peoples in transition, a guide for transited peoples. Thinking that diversity is an asset and not a problem. The road is still long, but the destinations seem to converge towards a mutual welcoming feeling.

View other works commented by Antonio Rollo  ››

As a professional Graphic Designer in Seattle, I remember seeing friends toil endlessly on such documents for cruise lines - they were unbelievable in their control of art direction to convince us that being a passenger on a floating city was a pleasant, normal thing to do.
I think the premise here is brilliant. Its certainly difficult territory to navigate, and the project is on the way, but needs further refinement, which there is always time for...
Carnival, Holland America, major airlines, cites and countries all produce such materials, and it would be worthwhile to truly investigate the manner in which specific techniques of photography, specific scales, colours and densities of typography all constitute the manner in which we receive the message "desirable destination".
The conflict/contrast between the narrative of tourism and the narrative of refugee movement is present in moments, but needs to be a more studied moment of critical pause. The sequence of the brochure, its pacing (how fast we experience a given point of view), its primarily photographic or typographic areas need further iteration.
Having said that, the potential of the work to critique the regions ignoring or openly attempting to obstruct the flight of refugees, in addition to the global phenomena of intensified tourism is readily apparent.
Beyond the suggested channels of distribution an exhibit or curated show of some kind could also go a long way to putting images of great visual appeal next to much more 'straight-up' photojournalistic images could be compelling.
The strength of the proposed work - and hopefully of future work to continue is the breadth of the critique - it critiques hospitality, it critiques media - but these could be more clearly stated in the brochure itself - embedded in the typographic standards of the media itself. The potential depth of this wrk leads me to suggest it should keep going, for surely there's even better work to be revealed through refinement.

View other works commented by Roderick Grant  ››

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Curators comments

This work has been commented by 3 curator(s):
Kevin Yuen-Kit Lo Antonio Rollo Roderick Grant go to comments ›

Entry details




A different kind of guide

Concept author(s)

Maria Papas

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

Concept and design were all developed by the author. Images used were a collection of images from tourist brochures and reports on the refugee situation.



Competition category

visual communication practice

Competition subcategory


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

Swinburne University/ Design Faculty/ Design Strategy and Innovation