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A Newsletter from the UN & NGOs Designers Group Geneva
Visual Communicators Newsletter
SEPTEMBER 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

Shaping our web together   

When it comes to visual communications for international organizations, the struggle to keep up with evolving new channels is well-known. And online presence has, for some time already, been the elephant in the room.
Precisely because we are aware of the titanic endeavour that is to updating a big organization's corporate website (a true exercise in politics and diplomacy when involving content and form) that we salute the gradual revamping of the UN website.
For a start,  it's put the user experience at the centre of the exercise, shifting the focus to becoming the hub for campaigns across the entire UN family. The idea was to make the UN.org website better reflect the latest UN activities, campaigns and priorities in a visually-oriented way and with less text. A new branding style has also been introduced, which is part of the brand book the UN Design Unit is building.
A new slogan, – "Shaping our future together"–  seems the perfect icing on the cake of this user-centric approach.
This update reflects a positive trend, as ISO has recently launched a redesign, while ICRC, UNDP or WHO are all heading for this newsy, snappier and more visually-led approach. We just hope that it becomes the norm and the rest of us take note.

An image worth three thousand languages

It’s estimated there are over 7,000 languages in the world today but many are endangered. Almost 3,000 could soon disappear. To raise awareness about this issue, 2019 has been marked as the international year of indigenous languages. To that effect, a website and a communication campaign were put in place. The UN Design and Branding Unit created the identity and a brand book. Special mention goes to the logo – cleverly built to connect us with indigenous cultures without being particularly linked to any specific culture it remains true to the spirit of the initiative.

A page turner..?

In its last incarnation COLORS made print history with ten thematic issues that looked at subjects ranking from transport to football, art, happiness or even shit, bringing a humanitarian angle to storytelling in a way no one has before. No other magazine ever achieved so much in just a few issues.
Now, what was 'a magazine about the rest of the world'  has become 'a magazine about the rest of the web'. And rightly so. Sourcing all content from the web and taking advantage of the popularity of Instagram, this new COLORS is the epitome of what the future of magazines could be: visually-focused, animated, concise and with instant interaction with the reader. All that without losing an inch of their irreverent philosophy to call out social issues.
All great, even if some of us can't help but miss flicking through the pages while smelling the ink...

September Inspiration
A read
Massimiliano Leone, head of Digital Media and Design at ILO explains how the organization is using digital storytelling for the ILO 100 anniversary campaign in this interesting article.
An image
3,758 backpacks in rows reminiscent of a graveyard have been laid out by UNICEF at the UN headquarters in NYC, each one representing a loss of a young life to conflict in the past year. 
A portrait
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar's portrait from Alfredo Jaar was just one of the fourteen artworks on shown at Art Basel and curated by UNHCR for the  project Art Stands with Refugee Women. 
A copycat
It's the curse of under-resourced in-house design teams. All the visuals they can afford are royalty-free stock images. But this article reminds us of the real price they may end up paying.
A tweet
ICRC has teamed up with Twitter to explore new ways of gamification to promote the Field Manual on Frontline Humanitarian Negotiation. All material can be found on this microsite.
A channel
COMMS & Coffee is a YouTube channel created by Olga and Wendy to challenge the status quo in international organizations, bringing humanity to every piece of comms they create.

Job opportunities

UN WOMEN is looking for a home-based Graphic Designer and web specialist
EPFL (Switzerland) is looking for a print and digital designer (Junior) 

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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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