Colenso BBDO
Kupu – Digital Design

  • Submission # 114

  • Output

    Digital Design – Toi Matihiko

  • Kaupapa

    Identity – People & Culture

    Innovation – Technical

  • Location

    Auckland, Tāmaki Makaurau

Project Overview:
According to statistics shared by UNESCO, at least 43% of the total languages estimated to be spoken around the world are at the brink of extinction. In fact, many languages have less than 1000 speakers, making them extremely vulnerable.

With these bleak numbers rising by the day, linguists and researchers believe that by the end of the century, at least half of the world’s languages (if not more) will have died. This is a troublesome thought, given that cultural identity and languages go hand in hand.

The global connectivity enabled by smartphones is contributing to this decline. What if we used the same smartphones that are hurting indigenous languages to help make them stronger?

Spark, being New Zealand’s original national communications company, is tied to its cultural heritage and perfectly placed to help preserve our national language.

Spark is New Zealand’s original national communications company, and is tied to New Zealand's cultural heritage, making Spark perfectly placed to help preserve our national language.

By turning the problem into the solution, Spark was able to use its technology platform to provide all New Zealanders with a way to learn Te Reo Māori. Spark created a mobile and web app that helps people learn the language in an engaging and accessible way that fits today’s lifestyle and behavioural patterns.

For Māori Language Week, we launched Kupu; an app that translates the world around you into Te Reo Māori. The app combines Google’s Cloud Vision and Translate API’s, along with Te Aka Māori dictionary data, to give the Māori translation for photos you take on your phone. It serves up the most likely translations and provides audio examples for pronunciation.

After taking a photo in the App, the user can swipe left to right through the detected results and instantly see the translation change. Other features include save/share, provide feedback, set reminders. Tapping the word or sound icon plays a human recording of the Māori pronunciation.

The visual translation design carried through the awareness campaign combining the App experience with the launch assets. For TV and online pre-rolls, we tailored the subject matter to the content it appeared with. Ie. ‘cat’ before cat videos on youtube and ‘paint’ during home improvement show The Block.

Working with our cultural partners Te Ipukarea, the visual design language not only has relevance to Māori but enhances the overall experience. The weaving theme was developed and embedded into the logo and other UI elements.

To date we have had 380,523 people using the app, 4 million photos taken, 4,687,500 audio translations played, and reached #1 Trending App on Google Play and The App Store.

The app is an ongoing and constantly evolving entity. It has received regular design and functionality enhancements including the latest ‘Kupu Stories’ feature.

Archiver’s Response:

Undeniably a stand out initiative. Using a tool we all carry around as a way to get closer with culture and learn Te Reo Māori at the user's own pace couldn't be a better marriage.

This is an excellent use of the current tech, used for best intentions and best potential.

The design identity is a clever blend of traditional patterns and modern UI symbolism.

The interface is more merit worthy design, beautifully clean and minimal. The stand out design element being the simple vertical line, that acts as the bridge/connection between both languages.

This project captures how New Zealand's earliest design elements are timeless. Still 100% relevant today. They can be reinterpreted alongside modern design, to create pieces of work that feel both human and progressive.

Credits & Collaborators:
Colenso - Chief Creative Officer: Levi Slavin, Executive Creative Director: Dan Wright, Creative Director: Thomas Darlow, Art Director: Harry Skelton, Art Director: Kim Scott, Copywriter: Lauren Southon, Design Director: Dean Pomfrett, Head of Digital Production: Tennille Barnes, Digital Producer: Elle Kiddie, Digital & Data Strategist: Emma Tait, Integrated Producer: Ashlee Harris , Senior Business Director: Ryan Butterfield, Business Manager: Jin Fellet, Technical Lead: Anna Markova,
Spark NZ - Tribe Lead Brand Experience: Sarah Williams, Brand Lead Partner: Hannah Bay, Brand Product Owner: Ingrid Bennie, Product Owner, Social & Performance Marketing: Caitlin Hayns, Paid Social Partner: Janine Casas, Corporate Relations Partner: Anaru Tuhi,
Google ZOO - Chief Creative Officer: Matty Burton, Chief Creative Officer: Dave Bowman, Creative Director: Iain Nealie, Creative Director: Tara Mckenty, Strategist: Samuel Payne, Creative Technologist: Mathew Tizard, Executive Producer: Chris Rollings,
Media Agency - PHD NZ
Public Relations - Drum

Kupu digital hero 1
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