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visual communication practice

Martin and Kate go to the Global debt zoo


Description of idea

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

I have chosen to create a storybook that rhymes and is full of illustrations, yet not aimed at kids. The story follows the journey of two friends, Martin and Kate. In geography class their teachers asks them to learn about debt. Martin is worried about this idea because he has no idea where to start. Luckily Kate provides a solution, and the two travel the “Global Debt Zoo” to research together.
The Global Debt Zoo is a place where counties external debts are shown in physical form; The countries are each represented by their national animal. The smaller an animals enclosure, thei larger their debt is. The more bars the cage has, the more debt there is per captia.
Kate thinks this is the best place to learn about debt because comparisons can be made quickly and easily as what is being represented are pure figures. After talking to a few animals Kate decides that as well as being simple to understand, debt doesn’t have any negative consequences, due to the arrogance of countries like America who say that their huge debt doesn’t matter because of their quality of life. Martin however doesn’t buy it, so they go and talk to some more nations.
From here the countries stories get more complicated when the two friends start to hear about all the different things that will effect a nations debt figures. They eventually get to a part of the zoo where the animals are in very larger enclosures with very few bars. They begin talking to the representative from the Congo who explains although the countries debt is small; because their economy isn’t very strong, or due to corruptions their small debt can cause large problems.
Martin and Kate then get one last look at the zoo from up in a tree before Martin goes home to write his assignment. After spending a bit of time reflecting on his day he comes to the realization that an idea as complicated as debt can’t be understood just by looking and comparing a bunch of figures, and that you need to dig deeper and do a little more research before jumping into any conclusions.

What kind of communication approach do you use?

Trying to simplify a complex problem. But also taking a critical look at over simplification.

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

The story is very much indented as a bit of fun, aimed at any one who has every had to do an assignment like the one we are doing now. Or any assignment that involves highly complex ideas with large amounts of easily accessible figures. It’s a reminder to look beyond just figures.

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

I can draw and rhyme much better then I ever anticipated.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

I would say my work is “good” design because I am discussing a serious and potentially boring topic in a fun and unexpected way.

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

If I were to distribute the book I would do so both online in pdf form and printed. If printed, basic environmental concerns have been considered; the only page with bleed is the front and back cover, only 3 colours are used and then tints and combinations of these 3 colours. The colour in the book is mostly block colour, so to save on ink and make the paper more easily recyclable only tints and screened % are used. Also taken into consideration at print would be to looking to recycled papers and soy-based inks.

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?)



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Entry details


Martin and Kate go to the Global debt zoo


An illustrated poem

Concept author(s)

Kirsten Randall

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

Concept, Author and Illustrator



Other author(s)

Claire Bowman

Other author(s) year(s) of birth


Other author(s) contribution

Text Editor



Competition category

visual communication practice

Competition subcategory


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

Griffith University BA Visual Communication Design