Finalist 2019

Co-Designing Authentic Narratives with Darebin Youth Services

Darebin Youth Services, City of Darebin / Public Journal / Hilary Walker Photography

Darebin Youth Services offers all young people in Darebin, on Wurundjeri land, support and services as they transition from dependence to independence.

Public Journal worked with City of Darebin to develop co-design activities and strategic frameworks to support their purpose-led programs— evolving the service in response to young people and communicating an authentic narrative back to the community.

Design Excellence

How can design amplify the voices of young people, ensure their strengths are recognised and their ideas and voices are heard around their aspirations, challenges and areas of need? How can design respond to emerging issues, services gaps and community needs for young people?

Through a series of co-design and engagement led design activities, Public Journal were guided by young people to develop a suite of highly engaging outward facing service touchpoints, scaffolded by a strategic framework of design activities and purpose built administration, owned by and designed with young people.

Design Impact

During consultation and research, a significant number of young people said they were concerned that they do not have the confidence and / or platforms to be assertive or have a voice in their community. They were also concerned about their portrayal in the community.

Darebin Youth Services’ co-design frameworks have enabled young people to feel heard and valued. The success of the engagement oriented design frameworks means young people are now directly connected to the key messages of the service and their voices are shaping authentic pathways for future young people into the core programs.

Design Transformation

Co-design has become a guiding principal in Darebin Youth Services strategic framework, enabling a strength based approach and shared responsibility with young people across all key activities.

Young people are continuing to shape the service as a result of co-design activities and have built skills, confidence and capacities to lead local projects and independent initiatives in their community. Young people directly involved in producing the design deliverables have had the ability to showcase their skills in design oriented activities for employment opportunities and higher education.

Design Innovation

Public Journal created design frameworks in response to Darebin’s young people. The engagement led process; drawing on co-design workshops, open dialogue, user led research and face-to-face meetings with young people enabled innovative strategic content, service maturation and new community narratives to be spoken by young people.

Skills such as composition, colour theory and art direction were offered to young people and became the vehicle for engagement with strategic content and planning, delivered in co-design workshop settings. This user-centred approach enabled innovative design outputs; harnessing the talent, energy and creativity of young people and ensuring ownership of the service.

Service Design 2019 Finalists


Isobar / Worksafe

Our Languages Matter Workshops

ThinkPlaceVictorian Aboriginal Heritage Council (VAHC) / Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) / ThinkPlace

GovMap User Discovery and Roadmap Design

ThinkPlace / Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning


PluginHUMAN (Justin Dwyer and Betty Sargeant)

Alchemy – Monash x Alpha60

Local Peoples / Monash University - Department of Materials Science & Engineering / Alpha60


Monash University, Faculty of Art Design and Architecture / Plan International / Crowspot

Justice Connect Gateway Project

Justice Connect / Today Design