Stop. Look. Think. Act.

27 Dec 2009 | By Lee Xian Jie

Keppel Integrated Engineering is the environmental technology and engineering arm of Keppel Corporation, a mainboard listed company in Singapore.

The safety team needed a set of posters to introduce workplace safety with the Stop. Look. Think. Act. process as part of Keppel Corporation’s Safety Starts With Me initiative. The finished product was to be A1-size and distributed to workplaces, including power plants, incineration plants, water treatment plans, and other industrial sites in the Asia-Pacific region where Keppel Integrated Engineering subsidiaries are.

When we analysed safety posters from other companies, we found that most used shock tactics, some bloody and gruesome. We wanted to do something different, and appeal to people’s attachment to their families and loved ones. So we proposed a poster with the key visual being an employee holding a picture of their family, clearly reminding colleagues that they are more than just work and the shortcuts they may be tempted to take.

“I keep myself safe because I don’t want them to worry.”

By using emotion to convey a safety process, which might be perceived as hackneyed propaganda, the attention span of these posters is prolonged and retained because one may easily sweep away a safety message but not so easily the reminders of the people whom they love.

We hired Kai Wen to photograph 5 employees from Keppel Integrated Engineering’s subsidiaries: Keppel Seghers, Keppel Sea Scan, and Keppel FMO. A makeshift studio was created in the client’s meeting room with two strobes. Before each photograph was made, Jeremy and I would interview them briefly about their hopes and dreams for their family, especially since all of them had children. The quotes shown on the posters are their words.

“They are worth more than any shortcut.”

Designing a logo

To make sure we had a distinctive design, we scoured the web for logos used by other safety campaigns. The finalised logo is a worker donning a helmet, figuratively protected by the Stop. Look. Think. Act. process which surrounds the icon. The logo was drawn with clean lines to prevent it from distracting from the other elements in the poster.

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  1. Many logos were complicated, but those with cleaner designs were better understood.
  2. Stop. Look. Think. Act. logo in English.

Translating the text

As Keppel Integrated Engineering’s employees are multiracial, we had to translate the English copy to Chinese, Bahasa Melayu (Malay), and Tamil, all official languages in Singapore. The Chinese and Bahasa Melayu versions were translated, and we consulted the client’s employees for accuracy (especially when it came to job descriptions and company names).

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  1. In Chinese: “I want to give my daughter a good future.” – Mr Natarajan Ramesh
  2. In Bahasa Melayu: “I don’t want to get hurt because my family needs me.” – Mr Anthony Araknathan Cruze

But English-Tamil was a headache because we couldn’t find a Tamil script for the Mac (although it could display Tamil). After the translation was delivered to us, we exported the text from Microsoft Word to Adobe PDF, imported all that into InDesign then converted them into outlines, for a painstaking copy-and-paste. The final artwork turned out to be fine:

In Tamil: “My wish is to be at my son’s university graduation ceremony.” – Mr U Win Aung