Helping Indigenous communities preserve and protect their languages.

Professor Tom Calma AO, Kim Kelly, Mary-Ruth Mendel

Australia’s Indigenous languages are declining at one of the fastest rates in the world. Globally, a language disappears every 14 days. These statistics are both alarming and avoidable. In 2017, The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) partnered with Josephmark to define a solution.

JM took on a challenge that was brave and untravelled: to work alongside ALNF to create a digital platform to aid in the preservation, revitalisation and teaching of literacy in Indigenous Languages.
Eric Brace, ALNF Programs Director
They understood the observations from community elders; that is, the trans-generational capacity to speak, read and write in one's own Language is transformative to the health, wellbeing, education and future of Indigenous peoples.
Eric Brace, ALNF Programs Director


Preservation was our first step. In order to conserve Australia’s first languages, we had to design a system that could easily capture every element of a dialect – words, syllables, sounds and phonograms – to build out dictionaries, stories and handwriting tools.

By designing an in-line editor and admin tool, communities can create and edit their own resources, meaning there’s no need for an intermediary and the product can be adopted by many communities and scale more quickly.

For the experience to feel authentic to Indigenous Australians, we worked closely with our sister studio Gilimbaa and artist Tarni O’Shea to ensure all cultural elements were inclusive.

The team at Josephmark harvested the best in technology to produce a neat, efficient and effective tool for communities to realise their dearest wish.
Eric Brace, ALNF Programs Director


Serving to protect and celebrate Indigenous languages is a key step toward reconciliation, and since launch, the platform has been actively used in communities around Australia.

In March 2019, the Living First Languages platform won SXSW’s Interactive Innovation Award for Innovation in Connecting People, which honours the most forward-thinking way to connect and communicate with others.

What we did in this project:



  • Visual identity
  • Art direction
  • Brand Animation

Digital Product


  • UX & UI design
  • Interaction & motion design
  • Content & information architecture


  • Rapid prototyping
  • User testing


  • Technical analysis & strategy
  • Full-stack development (responsive web)

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