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A view on what's happening in the UN & NGO design community
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A Newsletter from the UN & NGOs Designers Group Geneva
Visual Communicators Newsletter
JULY 2019

This is a monthly newsletter from the UN Designers and Visual Communicators Group in Geneva. Drop us a line if you would like to collaborate or share any material for inclusion in this newsletter: info@UNdesigners.org

The only way is down   

Around three years since it made its debut in  private sector digital communications,  now scrollytelling is making a splash in international organizations too. Scrollytelling, or one-page online vertical narratives, owes its success to several factors. Firstly, scrolling down is the most natural way of reading on a mobile device – and in 2018 mobile traffic was already higher than desktop traffic. It also has higher engagement rate as it incentivizes users to to keep reading, as opposed to having to click away to continue the story. And nowadays, multiple software applications for non-designers facilitate the task of creating such one page wonders
As a proof of this trend, last year's most read story on the UN Environment site was this scrollytelling story about plastic pollution. UNDP got in on the action with a themed page providing guidance on how to react to a tsunami. WIPO continues exploring this channel withj another story  created in shorthand on their work on the SDGs, while IMO has adopted the format to feature their work.
More inspirational scrollytelling examples here or here. Happy scrolling!

Private sector plays, SDGs win

The Cannes Lions are dubbed the "Oscars" of the advertising world. Since 2018, they have an award dedicated to SDGs, which this year went to The Lion's Share – a fund that asks advertisers to contribute a portion of their media spend to wildlife conservation and animal welfare projects. 
If you think this award was introduced to wipe consciences clean whilst happily dedicating the rest of prizes to consumerism, you'd be dead wrong. For starters, the Lion for Change (for fighting inequality) was granted to 'the last ever issue' – an initiative that purchased the final issue of a closing-down porn magazine in Poland to make a statement against sexism. The Creative Strategy award was won by The EVA initiative, from Volvo, that raises awareness of the fact that women are more likely to die in an accident because crash test dummies are male. Google won the Design Grand Prix for Creatability, trying to make creative tools friendly for people with disabilities. Johnson & Johnson's AIDS documentary '5B' won the Entertainment Grand Prix, and the innovation Grand Prix went to SeeSound, a household device which alerts people with hearing difficulties to potentially dangerous sounds. The e-commerce grand Prix went to Doconomy, an innovative payment solution which limits users’ carbon footprints. The Creative Data award headed to the 'Go Back to Africa' – a campaign that looks to reframe the conversation around race. And the PR Grand Prix went to The Tampon Book – an ingenious campaign protesting the 19% luxury tax on feminine hygiene products in Germany by publishing a book (which are taxed at just 7%) with 15 tampons packed into it.
And that 's not all! IKEA ThisAbles or Viva la Vulva – both already featured in our newsletter – were also awarded. So you’ll have a few examples at hand the next time someone asks you "What has capitalism ever done for us?"

What's in a brand 

There has been a lot of backlash against the Spanish government for pouring 164,000 euros of taxpayer's money into the rebranding of the country's postal service. Having to justify spending great quantities of public money on something that, for many, is “just an aesthetic issue” is something that may be familiar to many of us. In this case (as in most where a proper budget and professional management come together) the money has been very well spent. The brief was not to change the logo (a piece of design history for that country) but to bring an organization that increasingly seemed out of touch into the XXI century (does that sounds familiar to anyone?) The new typeface, the icons, the grid system, or even the introduction of the slogan "New times come by The Post" would still just be a gimmick if it weren’t for the fact that this rebranding comes with a re-positioning of the brand (biting into the parcel service market) and an adaptation of its channels to mobile technologies (hence needing a simpler, cleaned up logo) and younger consumers (using trap for that if necessary). 
There is a journey from creating a logo to building a visual identity and creating a brand, and the only viable path for that journey is purpose. How we convert that purpose into tangible proof is an ongoing discussion that we hope will reach the UN system soon.  

July Inspiration
A number
How many writing systems do you think there are in the world? Whatever number you come up, ANRT is going to prove you wrong. And they do so in a beautiful way.
A (free) book
How many times a day do you hear 'content is king' just to then go ahead and focus on form and forget substance? This free online book shows how to lead with content to make your work shine. 
A photo-essay
Amanda Nero's photo-essay 'Idai – Remnants of a cyclone in black and white' for IMO shows the human side of the devastating effects of the cyclone as it passed through Mozambique.
A call to action (I)
Talk of global warming may no longer grab people's attention, but when dataviz is used to show how by 2050 Madrid could have the same climate as Marrakech, this can make headlines.
A shop
Want a good excuse to go on a shopping spree? Choose Love, Help Refugees is a shop created by Glimpse (a designer collective) whose sole aim is to help refugees.
A call to action (II)
...But if dataviz doesn't work for you, the guys at Extinction Rebellion have put together a book (or survival guide) to raise awareness about the imminent consequences of climate change.
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Copyright © 2019 UN Designers Group, All rights reserved.

This newsletter has been produced by the UN Designers group, a non-profit organization created with the purpose of raising awareness around design and visual communications in international organizations, as well as help promoting the work done in this field. Our channels are both our physical meetings, usually hosted in UN agencies or other international organizations in Geneva, and this e-newsletter.


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