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Case Study—City of Melbourne Infographics Project

"Shared in confidence". Daniel Neville, my previous lecturer at RMIT University wrote down this inspiring sentence on the cover of his semi-recent case studies @nevolution and uploaded it up straightaway on his website for sharing.

As a fan of Daniel's attitude, I think it is always a good idea to share good insights that left with me at the end of my internship with the City of Melbourne. And also, as a learning experience for me and potentially for everyone who are interested in government working process of a 'design' project, I think a 'case study' sort of informal article would help to document and reflect through the experience meanwhile provide a new perspective for people who may be curious about government organization.

Brief Introduction

— I took a three-month internship placement from May to July (2017) on an in-house infographics project with CoM. The purpose is to articulate factsheets and visually represent it in order to show the councillors, colleagues and visitors what community branch has done. The deliverables are a series of 4 posters that communicates the factsheets through interviews with three stakeholders: Children's Services, Family Services & Aging and Inclusion.

About 'first Meet'

— ''If it doesn't feel like the job you are looking for, you are free to leave anytime. But anything you create during the internship is a bonus to us' ended up the interview at City of Melbourne Little Collin Street Office. Looked around the office, it's not like some pretty design studios or agencies as you imagined, it's just normal offices like anywhere else.

I said, 'Yes'. And signed the contract straight away.

About 'having my first staff card'

— It's quite awful to be grabbed down at a security room kinda place in Town Hall and asked to take a photo without any preparation. But anyway, got my first staff card registered was exciting enough to say 'come on, whatever'. Though I was told better not to wear the staff card off the roads or on public transportation, I still love to show it off while dinning out during the lunch break, or way to the office and way back home. I enjoy the feeling of being adopted by an organization. Such feeling is kinda amazing as you know you are part of it.

About 'rules'

— No allowing to create anything new that would challenge the existing rules is the first rule I was told to follow. Reading through the restricted CoM brand guideline was the first day task. So at CoM, having had sharp and creative eyes doesn't mean you are here to change something for specific project, but to help organize the information precisely.

About 'Outlook'

Outlook is the Microsoft office product widely used in corporations internationally. I was new to this product, unfortunately. However, it is easy to pick it up. The amazing things for outlook are that, you could use it internally even remotely to send and receive emails, book meeting room, check calendars, etc. Super efficient for an office use purpose!

About 'Non-brief' project

— I was basically given nothing beforehand when I started working at CoM Community Services Branch except the verbal introduction and notes that I took in the meeting with my team leader and brand manager. It was tough as you were a bit lost in the beginning without a certain written document at hand. However, I created brief & proposal documents and an interview questionnaire anyway just because it is easier for me to make sure all my works are on the right track approved by my leaders and it also help other stakeholders involved to clarify that we are on the same paper.

About 'CoM people'

— CoM People are inclusive and supportive because of the shared value at City of Melbourne. For whatever reasons they come together, they work hard but without any commercial ambitions.

About ‘crispy bacon donut'

— There are heaps of tricks to learn how to kick off a long boring meeting. How to warm it up is the key, We were asked what's the cheerful thing during the weekend and the answer end by having a crispy bacon donut will be something fun to break the ice. YAS, I made it happened haha.

About 'challenge'

— The challenge at the time was how to work on a pure information-driven brief under a non-creative guideline and the shift from a creative to a 'content builder'. The lesson I learned through the project is how to apply strategic thinking to the proposal.

About 'presenting strategy'

— Strategic thinking and be experimental are two main skills that I gain from the Master of Communication Design. More often, I realize the role as a ‘content builder’ is more suitable for me compare to ‘graphic designer’ especially on the data-driven projects when you have freedom to design the narratives and structure of the complex information but limit to be creative.

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