Some stories are often left untold or rarely talked about. We wanted to change that. As students in the digital media program at Utah Valley University, Katie and I proposed a combined senior capstone project with two journalism students from the Namibian University of Science & Technology to explore and share the stories of women in rural Namibia. Given Namibia’s diverse cultural and ethnic background, the preservation of experiences, as well as similarities and differences between ethnically diverse Namibian women is paramount.
How were we going to present these stories in a way that was accessible to a global audience?
Figuring out what the best way of presenting the women's stories was. We initially thought that we were going to create a digital magazine that would be accessible through a tablet but we later found that it was rare for people in Namibia, specifically, to consume content through this platform. Most Namibians consume content through their smartphones so we decided to create a website instead.
Working with an international team. Communicating on a regular basis and working cross-cultures can be difficult because people are on a different time schedule.
Developing a website using a new program. Prior to this project, Katie and I had no previous experience with ReadyMag so we had to go through a learning process.
Namibia is home to 13 different cultures; it’s essentially a cultural melting pot. Since there are numerous ethnic groups all across Namibia, we decided that we would be interviewing four groups. We were very fortunate enough to make “The Untold” into a three-year-long project where other students would take it over and interview other groups and build onto what we have started. With this project, we wanted to shine light on all ethnic groups, even the less prominent, while uncovering the untold stories of these women. Listed below, are the four ethnic groups that we got in touch with:
Oshi-Wambo, Baster, Topnaar, and Herero Ethnic Groups.
The naming of the project. When it came down to naming our project, we all went to a local burger joint in Windhoek to discuss our ideas together. I wrote down our ideas:
One name that I thought would be a good fit was “Untold.” When I first thought of this name, I wrote down just that and wrote an underline after it because, at the time, I couldn’t think of another word that would go along with “Untold …” Luckily, as we brainstormed together, we all came to the conclusion that we like the simplicity of The Untold with a sub-heading of Narratives of Namibian Women. Why The Untold? To us, we thought that this name was simple, yet powerful enough to convey that the stories like the ones that we collected for our project were rarely talked about or even left… untold.
Now that we had a good structure for our website, we needed to figure out what the look and feel of our brand were going to be like. Something that I’ve always had an interest in has been branding so I decided to tackle the overall brand of The Untold. When coming up with the logo, I first sketched out the following ideas:
After sketching out a variety of logo ideas, I started to narrow down my ideas to one that I could really focus on. That “one” was the sun logo that I like to refer to as the “Namibian Shine.” Shown below, is the transformation of the logo from the beginning to the most updated version:
color & type.
Once we prototyped the website, we soon realized that the overall navigation could be improved. Instead of having people swipe or click through the different stories through the main images at the top of the page, we decided to include the titles of each section on the main screen of each ethnic group. Shown below are some of the changes that we made: