Johnson Banks creative director Michael Johnson says the new branding aims to give the charity a more “strident” voice while also allowing it to “navigate an emotional ‘scale’ and not be trapped in just hard or soft messages”.
The new positioning comes in response to a need for the charity to “clearly establish a consistent link between the charity and children” and “form a much stronger emotional connection with the public”, says Johnson.
Johnson Banks worked on the project for around a year, in collaboration with writer Nick Asbury.
The new approach is based around five words: ‘For every child in danger’, which always appear adjacent to and locked to the logo. There are four main versions of the lock-up which can be used for different applications and media.
Johnson says: “‘Danger’ is a very powerful positioning which enables the charity to illustrate the millions of children facing violence, disease, hunger, and the chaos of war and disaster, then ask for the public’s help to keep children safe.”
The consultancy also developed a “softer” side to the guidelines – allowing Unicef to talk about its work for “every child” and “safety”. This includes the use of a blue safety pin device. Johnson says: “This gives Unicef inbuilt flexibility within the campaign to speak to different audiences when a more subtle approach is required.”
The new branding uses an updated “bolder” tone of Unicef’s cyan colour and a heavily condensed version of the Univers Next typeface. Johnson says: “Unicef has, for years, worldwide, used the famous typeface Univers, but in testing we were struggling to inject any genuine urgency using it.
“We found that one version of Univers Next (the ‘heavy condensed’), when used in capitals had the authority and gravitas that we were looking for. Along with a bolder overall approach to design and copy, and stronger use of the charity’s famous colour, we felt that this was an art direction approach that could quickly become theirs, and keep them differentiated from others in the market.”
Johnson Banks also created a toolkit of graphic devices and guidelines around blue-tinted photography “to try to avoid the generic images of the sector”.