Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System Interim Report Design
The Royal Commission will map out a plan of action that drives major changes to Victoria’s mental health services. The Interim Report represented the beginning of that process. Liquorice partnered with the Commission to design the Report, page structural elements, charts, diagrams, infographics, and other design features.
We aimed to bring clarity and accessibility to the dense and sometimes harrowing content we were tasked with communicating. It has been a privilege to work with the Commission’s team on this significant project which seeks to imagine and plan a better future for us all.⠀
Liquorice collaborated closely with the RCVMHS team, determining the creative direction and key design features of the Report, and transforming complex data into accessible, meaningful and clear communication.
The variety, volume and sensitivity of the content, together with a challenging timeline, required a creative and meticulous approach. One key visual motif appears in various iterations throughout the 670-page Report, building consistency and visual interest to complement the dense data. This geometric circular form evokes a sense of focus, community and person-centred care. Clear typographic hierarchy and a warm design language express the ideas of holism and connectedness.
The Commission aims to provide the community with a clear and ambitious set of actions that will change the system and enable Victorians to experience their best mental health now and into the future. Change is already happening. Both the Commonwealth and State Governments have begun delivering key recommendations from the Report, including new public acute mental health beds and the state-wide roll out of the Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) program.
The impacts of the pandemic have brought the urgent crisis into sharp focus. It is clear that now more than ever, we must design a future mental health system that is able to respond to current and emerging needs. The Commission’s recommendations in its Final Report, due in February 2021, will present a bold and innovative approach to transform Victoria’s mental health system.
The final design drew inspiration from Wemba Wemba elder Aunty Nellie Flagg, who during an Aborigines Advancement League hearing for the Commission stated that “Connectedness to culture, country and community is the foundation stone for building stronger individual and collective identities.” We felt that her statement resonated with the ideals and mission of the Commission, and we often referred back to it during our refinements to ensure we were continuing in the right direction.
We created approximately 180 data visualisations, each one requiring high attention to detail. We worked tirelessly to establish a process to allow us to produce the charts quickly and have them remain consistent. The creation of these infographics proved to be one of the most challenging aspects of this project: we needed to transform complex data into accessible, meaningful and clear communication.
The project itself was evolving constantly, with the final content and data being released incrementally due to the ongoing research, contributions and confidentiality surrounding it. This meant that it was vital that we developed a simple but tightly structured page layout and baseline grid that would accommodate an unknown final page count and help in the sizing of break-out boxes, charts and other infographics on the fly.
The team at the Commission had been working around the clock to supply content to us, with the document being edited and refined right to the last possible moment. Knowing the bulk of the work would be concentrated in the final weeks of the project, we developed and tested a robust production process prior to the content coming in. Working through the majority of the charts and infographics prior to receiving the content was a key factor in ensuring we met the challenging deadline.