Co-designing FRANK: Exploring how co-design might be used to engage young people in designing a new brand and online platform
This design-led research project explored how co-design can be used to engage young people in the design of a new brand and online platform for the Auckland District Health Board’s Peer Sexuality Support Programme (PSSP). Common branding practices normally engage users through surveys and evaluation of design proposals to provide insights. They do not generally involve users as equals in co-creation in the early discovery stages of the design process. In this research, young people were brought into the design process as informants and partners, to drive the design of a new brand and online platform that would be better positioned to engage, appeal to, and be accepted by their peers.
The research explored ways in which young people might be more effectively engaged to inform design solutions that better meet user needs. A series of discovery and evaluation co-design workshops were used to engage with a diverse range of youth in the programme. Game-like interactive activities, and the opportunity for open discussions were found to be engaging and meaningful for participants. Engaging young people in this way helped participants to uncover and share insights that could only be possible by directly involving them in the design process.
The first output of this research was the conception of a new brand called FRANK that was co-designed with PSSP youth leaders. This better positioned the brand to be well received by their peers. FRANK and its brand identity applications were further evaluated with other PSSP youth leaders to determine how well the brand might be accepted by a diverse audience of young people. This evaluation revealed that FRANK had strong visual appeal, but there were divided opinions around the use of the brand name. This illustrated challenges associated with pleasing a large and diverse group of users and stakeholders, but indicated potential for co-design to better understand and position design solutions. The second output was a proposal for an online platform. The online platform (also co-designed with PSSP youth leaders) was developed to give the organisation more of an online presence. Furthermore, the online platform addressed some of the key challenges PSSP youth leaders face in their roles when supporting their peers. The final design solution elicited a strong positive response from them, which highlighted the importance of involving young people in the design of products and services that address issues affecting them.