Rebranding the brandedDigital communication strategy for the Oswin Project –an ex-offenders’ charitymore on: oswinproject.org.ukHEI: Northumbria UniversityCourse(s)/Research body: BA (hons) InteractiveMedia DesignMain Partners: The Oswin ProjectFunders: List fundersPlace: Northumberland, United KingdomKeywords: education, job creation, small enterprise
The context• In the UK 50% prisoners releasedfrom prison will reoffend with a yearand 75% will do so with 9 years ofleaving prison*.• The statistics are even worse foroffenders in youth custody with 75%reoffending with a year of release*.• The problem is on the increase withprison populations having doubled inthe last 20 years*.• 68% of prisoners leaving prisonreported that having a job would bean important factor in stopping themreoffending**.• For 50% of vacancies employers arelikely to reject even those with themost minor criminal convictions**.MoJ Breaking the cycle; Effective punishment,rehabilitation and sentencing of offenders.December 2010 Green Paper (*)Employment – DWP Research Report number155 – 2001 (**)
Project Response…The Oswin Project aims to give ex-offenders a second chance by trainingthem in a sort after trade, and importantly giving them real work.In order to help raise awareness of the projects aims, encourage supportand engage with the wider community, students and staff at NorthumbriaUniversity worked with Trustees to help define their visual identity,communication strategy and produce design collateral requirements.
Reverend Fiona Sample – Founder of the Oswin Project• Motivation – Fiona has visited prisoners many time and heardstories of no jobs or prospects when leaving prison. As a teacherand educator too her motivation is to help break this cycle of re-offending.• Assets – Vision, motivation, funder raiser.• Outcomes – A physical and virtual identity for the project, a websitefor communication with stakeholders and the wider public. Arelationship with the University for future development
Trustees• Motivation – To help bring the vision tofruition. All have a strong ties to theregion and a moral sense of communityleadership.• Assets – Personal motivation,professional and community networks,funder raisers.• Outcomes – Design expertise to helpthem visually validate their work and aidcommunication
Ex-offenders – the ‘Oswinners’• Motivation for the design aspect of the project: More awarenessof the project and better communication will enhance thechances of continued employment through the project• Assets – Individual case study contribution• Outcomes – Increased self-esteem and better work prospects
Students• Motivation – Part of course work; live brief; learn newskills; contribution to portfolio• Assets – Time, energy, creativity and relevant skills.• Outcomes – New knowledge, enhanced skills, greaterawareness of the issue, experience of how design cancontribute to the resolution of a social issue or problem
ProcessThe design process for the client delivery and the learning experiencefor the students had to be carefully integrated. The simplicity ofbriefing and research, concept development, design protoyping andpresentation phases for both clients and students masked a muchmore complex programme of learning.
Tools and methods…• Orientation meetings to help scope out requirements and alsoQ&A sessions with students to get them on-board• Branding, Web Design and Social Media workshops with studentshelped bring them up-to-speed with required tools and designmethods.• Crit and feedback sessions with students and trustees to helpshape project outcomes.• Onsite visits to the pilot project building site to see work at firsthand and share design work with the first ex-offenders.
Role of DesignDesign played a traditional role in the process of social innovation.The identity work helped visually establish the project is the eyes ofits stakeholders, the website provides a low cost communicationplatform for the trustees to communicate with various audiences fromex-offenders to potential sponsors.
Project output and impact:• Visual identity system and associated design collateral• Email and website for communication• The collaboration itself became a news worthy item that raisedawareness of the project and the undergraduate programme.
Learning outcomes• For the students, the live project gave them real-world learningexperience in order to test their newly acquired skills, but perhapsmore importantly gave them the first-hand experience andpersonal reward of third sector work.• For Northumbria University it met an institutional goal to engagemore with the region.• For the course it continued an on-going interest in working withthird sector clients and created welcome publicity.• For the trustees, they have an identity system and website thatthey could not afford, and a relationship with NorthumbriaUniversity for future projects.
Successes and Shortcomings/ Barriers and Enablers• The successes – design elements were delivered on time and to budget, thestudents more than met their required learning outcomes, the Oswin Projectand Northumbria University have a closer working relationship.• Design could have played an even greater role in the project’s ‘design’ from aservice perspective if Northumbria University been involved at an earlier stage.• Few barriers other than running at the speed of the students’ own development.• The great enablers were the trustees and the enthusiasm of the students, theircollective energy made this design project happen.