San Francisco design studio Landscape has designed Good & Common, a free online educational platform which encourages Americans to learn more about their civil rights.
The platform is a collaboration between civil rights lawyer Dewitt Lacy and Landscape, which has crafted the website’s branding and layout. The studio also worked on the platform’s writing and content creation.
Lacy approached Landscape to bring to life his “vision of a free, broadly accessible digital, civil rights education platform”, says studio associate creative director Ben Bloom. “The scale and potential impact of Dewitt’s vision was something that excited our team from the very outset,” he adds.
Lacy has been working as a civil rights attorney for over a decade, often working on criminal cases regarding police misconduct. His aim was to distil that knowledge into an accessible digital platform, which has information and videos on topics including protesting, immigration and freedom of speech.
The design of the site was to make the information both as “accessible and actionable” for Americans, Bloom explains. The name, Good & Common, was chosen for its “universal, democratic, and optimistic” tone, Bloom explains, which speaks to the long-term vision for the platform and how important the information available is. “It signals a sense of unity and accessibility – a brand that can act as a resource for all people,” the designer adds.
Those values are further reflected in the logo, which has a double meaning: evoking both a bookshelf and also a peace sign. The former represents the knowledge offered on the platform, Bloom explains, while the latter demonstrates “the impact the platform can have on Americans’ lives”.
The ambition for the platform was to create something simply and user-friendly, he explains – driven by the need to “translate complex legal information into digestible content”. It can be accessed via desktops or mobiles.
When it comes to the editorial layout, the design team was keen to add a “sense of urgency”, Bloom says, pointing to the high-contrast colour palette and bold type choices. While the branding aims to be memorable, it couldn’t be “overly stylized or polarising”, Bloom says.
The identity draws on wider references from America’s civil rights movement. One notable example is the I am a Man protest poster, made famous at 1968’s Memphis sanitation strike, which Lacy has hanging in his office. Other historical artefacts included posters, pamphlets and buttons from the civil rights movement.
The resulting visual system pays homage to “these bold, confident graphics of significance and feels modern and broadly appealing,” Bloom adds. The identity also had to be appropriate for the Good & Common’s serious content matter, so the team hoped to evoke a “certain level of gravity and credibility”, Bloom adds.
You can visit Good & Common on its website.