With Great Talent Comes Great Responsibilities

The One Academy students with representatives of Silent Teddies bakery.

As human beings with the ability to empathise, every one of us are aware of the social responsibility we hold towards the society. No matter when or where we are, someone somewhere will be appreciative of the help that we are able to offer, be it monetary or physical help or even expertise.

In this domain, The One Academy students are enthusiastic make available their talent to help those who are less fortunate not only within the local region, but also the international scene. As part of the institution’s endeavor to “give back to the community”, this time, they have been selected by AirAsia Foundation to collaborate on projects that will assist the local deaf community and also silversmiths from Indonesia.

One of the purpose of AirAsia Foundation is to aid the growth of social enterprises (a business that uses profits of goods and services sold to overcome social challenges and facilitate improvement of communities) of ASEAN through the means of grant funding, business mentorship and networking.

The collaborative project with AirAsia is conceived under the Creative GOOD platform which consists of volunteer professionals with pertinent skills and expertise who will contribute on a pro bono basis to an AirAsia Foundation beneficiary which is a social enterprise of non-profit organisation.

In this partnership, The One Academy students have been tasked to provide the Foundation’s beneficiaries with basic items and knowledge that help them with product presentation, story-telling and improvement of their products and services’ marketability. Students also worked with Y&R Malaysia, an award-winning advertising agency, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility project.

Chief Creative Officer Gigi Lee of Y&R Malaysia with The One Academy Head of Advertising Department Evan Yan during design & branding workshop with the Selaka Kotagede silversmiths.

The first project is the creative assistance for Selaka (silver in ancient Javanese) Kotagede silversmiths by BA (Hons) Graphic Design students. From a previously linked AirAsia project, it was discovered that the silver trade in the Kotagede region might cease to exist, and thus this project will exclusively highlight the plight of these silversmiths.

Conventionally, these craftsmen who did not receive formal craft and design education and work independently from their home studios would supply their work to middlemen or direct customers. Problems arise when the middlemen reproduce the initial product they had bought, paid for very little, and sell them elsewhere at much lower prices. They would also have to obtain loans just to pay for raw silvers due to direct clients who pay little deposit and then pay the full amount only months later during product collection, posing an additional problem.

To underscore the severity of the situation, the village which had about 200 families engaged in the silversmithing trade now houses less than 30 left, constantly finding themselves working other jobs such as parking attendant and other low-skilled occupations to make ends meet.

AirAsia Foundation helped with formulating a few methods for the silversmiths to weasel out of the situation they were in. For one, they had to create in-demand products and to be able to have a unique selling point or branding to distinct themselves not in terms of pricing, but through their identity and ancient heritage. Then, the collective named Selaka Kotagede was formed.

Using their vast resources, a multitude of efforts took place such as creative design, pricing workshops, product ideas and liaising with external parties to enhance skills of the silversmiths, not to mention providing a platform during flights for them to sell their products onboard.

As trained art and design students well-versed with industry practices, The One Academians have stepped in to lend their skills in this venture to preserve a very valuable part of ASEAN heritage. To help the silversmiths raise their income level and giving them the recognition they deserve, students have helped further develop their brand, created full product packaging, promotional brochures and signage, and business cards, among other collaterals.

Another project involved collaboration with Silent Teddies, a bakery run by The Community Service Centre for the Deaf (CSCD) a non-profit NGO which aims to provide deaf youth vocational training that can equip them with entrepreneurial skills, allowing them to be independent and self-sufficient. Students there will learn to make cookies, bread and cakes, which will then cultivate the inner potential they possess by first earning a stable income and learning the ropes of life.

The role of The One Academy Advertising diploma students in this partnership was to come up with new logo, packaging design, marketing brochure or leaflet and also van rebranding. The goal of these would be to position Silent Teddies cookies as products of quality and nutrition. Students were also challenged to utilise the bakery’s social significance as added value in differentiating itself from other similar products.

Through these wonderful partnerships with industry giants to provide aid to the local and international communities in plight, what is apparent is that the art and design field is all the more crucial for the current social and economic conditions that require industrious skills and knowledge to thrive – and perhaps to even survive.

The One Academy students with representatives of Silent Teddies bakery.

The One Academy is committed to providing the best art education programme and continues to nurture its students passionately by providing diploma and degree courses, namely Digital Animation with Game Development, Advertising & Graphic Design, Fine Arts, ESMOD Fashion Design & Pattern Making, Interior Architecture & Design, Multimedia Design with Digital Media & Interactive Design, Illustration, Movie & Game Art and Film Visual Effects. For further enquiries, contact email [email protected] or visit www.toa.edu.my.

The One Academy of Communication Design

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