Reflections on designing our RAP: What we’ve learned on the way

When I first landed in Australia as a fresh-faced design graduate from London, I was curious about Indigenous culture in my new city of Brisbane. I asked questions and gained some knowledge along the way, but it took another 20 years, and being part of our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) team, to truly begin learning about Australia’s First Nations, and the Yuggera and Turrbal peoples as the Traditional Owners of where I now call home.

I’m proud to say our hard work and commitment has seen us reach the first milestone in our reconciliation journey – the launch of Rowland’s Reflect RAP.

As we reflect on the design of our inaugural RAP, here are our top learnings.

#1. Challenge what you think you know

Honestly, you probably don’t know as much as you think!

#2. Find the right partners

For more than 20 years, Rowland has partnered with Noel Niddrie, a Kamilaroi and Dharug man, and Director of Winangali, a leading agency in the highly specialised area of First Nations research, communication and community engagement.

#3. See things differently

As a seasoned graphic designer, I welcomed the opportunity to bring the Reflect RAP design to life but was surprised by just how much I had to learn (and unlearn). The project required rethinking our usual approach to imagery.

While some organisations choose to commission an artwork to tell their reconciliation story, we hadn’t anticipated the lead time required to co-create the right piece and needed an alternative visual direction. We considered a range of visual solutions, but ultimately the approach stemmed from key language used throughout the RAP: “reflect”, “stepping stones”, “journey”. Visually, this became about water – Maiwar, the beautiful and meandering Brisbane River that we are lucky enough to see every day from our office, and our city’s network of creeks. While the chosen imagery shows the physical reflections in water, mirroring elements of page layout reinforce the idea in a subtle way. In the end, our design took an unexpected turn towards the serene and reflective, capturing the essence of our story.

We’re excited to share our Reflect RAP and continue our learning journey.

Read our RAP

Christine Rosher, Senior Designer


Rowland acknowledges the Yuggera and Turrbal people as the Traditional Owners of the land where we have met and worked for more than 30 years. We pay our respects to their Elders and recognise we are part of a long history of storytelling on Meeanjin.