Taiwanese illustrator Jia-yi Liu aims to tackle the mispronunciation of foreign and non-English names in schools and workplaces with Let's Get Names Right, a witty new campaign that takes the stress out of the language barrier.
As Jia-yi explains on her site, names sit in a strange area of identity that's often linked to race. This can result in all sorts of stumbling blocks when cultures collide and unfamiliar words try to carry over. Names, in particular, can be misspelt, ignored, or changed altogether.
Having recently graduated from Shillington with work that centred around the importance of diversity in graphic design, Jia-yi decided to use her newfound skills to confront the issue and cancel the mispronunciation of foreign names.
"It has happened to me all my life (my name is an awkward one)," Jia-yi tells Creative Boom. "So I thought I would do a funny campaign like a GIF, JIF situation. However, on further research, both conducting interviews with friends, as well as online reading, the mispronunciation of names, can have a significant impact on identity and privilege."
In Let's Get Names Right, statistics and anecdotal examples are used to highlight how foreign and non-English names are marginalised. Whether that's a receptionist referring to someone vaguely for years on end, or insights into the proportion of black and Asian applicants who have altered their names on resumes in order to be considered.
"Even so I didn't want to lose the humour in the campaign, and I hope people can re-frame the situation as a matter of curiosity and learning. I've tried to incorporate some comedy and ridiculous situations, for example, the somewhat cute and angry faces in halftone and pastel show the hidden frustrations. I also want to encourage empathy with ideas like the mispronunciation simulator."
By inputting their names into the mispronunciation simulator, users who don't usually run into a language barrier can see what it's like to have their name misinterpreted. The many different ways they can be said are displayed, and there's also some historical insight into where the name originally came from. It's a smart, witty way to challenge a topic that touches on weighty issues.
Capped off with clever use of clashing typographic styles, Let's Get Names Right is an informative and empathetic way to encourage users to be more considerate and inclusive.