Opinion by Richard Baird Posted 26 June 2019
CareerTrackers is an Australian charitable organisation that addresses Indigenous disadvantage by developing professional career pathways, internship programs and links with private sector employers for Indigenous university students. It does this through a model adapted from an African-American internship program that has been tackling disadvantage for over 45 years. This model sees students intern with sponsoring companies with the intention of converting them into full-time employees following the completion of their university degree.
Sydney-based studio Garbett worked with CareerTrackers to develop a graphic identity for its 2017 Annual Report and Gala Awards evening which included banners, information cards, trophies and tote bags, and then went on to develop this for the following year. These are linked by a modern take on Indigenous art in form, colour and materiality. Where the 2017 Awards program played with multiple colours, 2018 saw the introduction of a more paired-down mix of black, white and red ink.
CareerTrackers’ 2017 Annual Report documented the impact the not-for-profit has had with a series of statements and statistics. The format of this, a set of cards, took what could have been a dry and corporatised presentation and gave it character and warmth. It was essentially a materialisation of the corporate deck, delivered in a way that is invitational. This continues into 2018 with a series of cards that carried information about the awards, the program and the program sponsors. That these could then be repurposed as coasters is a neat takeaway and helps the information move beyond the event.
Indigenous art was clearly a reference point for the 2017 graphic identity. This was evident in the use of form and colour—the earthy hues of available pigments—yet built this out into something with its own identity linking various printed assets. The creation and use of simple yet referential geometric forms is well-suited to the pragmatism and efficacy of the organisation, as well as the theme of pathways and structured learning. However, in their combinations and range, the forms have a playfulness and warmth that is cheerful and inviting. Although having something of a referential quality these are very much their own thing, connecting groups of different people with a new graphic language. The use of fewer colours and the addition of a white, as well as a tapestry of new shapes for the 2018 Awards further this intention. A monospaced of typeface introduces a difference in tone, delivering key information and insight in a more formal manner.
The trophies are a highlight, appearing as totems of graphic imagery cut into the earthiness of a light wood that shares something in common with the material craft of Indigenous art. Again these are very much their own thing, establishing a graphic and material language that seeks to connect and unify groups of people and set them on a shared course of positive change. More from Garbett on BP&O.