Tangent has designed a new identity for Glasgow Alliance to End Homelessness, an organisation which has been backed by a consortium of partners in the city.
The design studio says it has worked with the organisation to help bring about a deeper and more visible understanding to an issue that has long plagued Glasgow (and many other cities around the world).
The Alliance was founded in 2019 by the Glasgow City Council and is composed of different local organisations that are each committed to “kick-starting a city wide movement to end homelessness and rough sleeping in Glasgow by 2030”.
Faced with the ongoing, widespread dilemma of effectively communicating social issues such as homelessness, the Alliance approached Tangent for help with finding a solution. It needed branding and a campaign that could not only raise awareness, but also push back against clichéd campaigns and overused visuals usually found in the sector.
“People can be quite cynical when it comes to the provision of homelessness services, and across the UK it’s a really big problem,” explains Tangent co-founder David Whyte. “So, one of the main points the Alliance wanted to get across was that there is something different about them, being that people with lived experience of homelessness are right at the forefront of the group – they even formed part of the team that commissioned us to do this work.
“The other important point was destigmatising homelessness itself. So our branding sought to make it a lot clearer why people find themselves in these kinds of difficulties. We wanted to explore the hidden elements of the issue, such as people without a home who aren’t necessarily sleeping rough, and the smaller problems that everyone deals with, such as job losses and missed bill payments, which can eventually lead to homelessness.”
With its designer Sian Macfarlane leading on the project, Tangent developed an identity for the Alliance that shines a light on these subtler aspects, profiling individuals with interesting takes on the subject, capturing them using raw and honest portraiture, and not shying away from both negative and positive outlooks.
The latter was particularly important for the studio, which was keen to balance the urgency and seriousness of the situation with a more upbeat tone, inspiring hope and making change feel not only possible, but near at hand.
This was achieved in part by a bold colour scheme that lightened the overall aesthetic without detracting from the important stories on display. This served to draw attention to the emotive messaging and helped to create juxtaposition between the OOH media and the more subdued tones of the city streets.
“We do a lot of work in these types of sectors, and it’s always crucial to not treat the issues flippantly, but there’s also no use in being po-faced or downbeat about them.
“In general, homelessness campaigns tend to be quite stark in order to be hard hitting, which can sometimes create fear and stigma. So we went for warmth and vibrancy instead, to speak to the idea that if we all come together, we can do something about this,” says Whyte.
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