Women’s March on Washington
Creating a user-friendly brand
The day after the US election, a grandmother in Hawaii had an idea that she shared with 40 of her friends. She wanted to bring women together in Washington, D.C to march for human rights, dignity, diversity, justice, and marginalized groups: immigrants, those of diverse religious faiths or sexuality, Native people, black and brown people, and survivors of sexual assaults. Basically tell the world that women rights are human rights.
More than a hundred thousand women started to rally through social media, and the Women’s March on Washington was born. Two of the women who signed up early work at our New York office. They reached out to the organizers and asked if they needed any help. They did. They needed a visual identity.
Spoiler alert! After a few weeks of collaboration, they picked the below direction, and then they changed their mind. These things happen, but we thought it would be interesting to share some of the process here.
Discovery & Exploration
Here are some of our early sketches:
We always apply divergent thinking in the early phases of a project. This is the time to take risks and be curious. The above sketches are just a small fraction of the output from the discovery phase.
A common denominator is the hand-crafted feel that has become a signifier of many grass-root movements.
We ended up with a bold shape – the downward pointing triangle, an ancient symbol of femininity. Two triangles form a W for Women and Washington.
We initially looked for fonts designed by women, but that proved to be a fairly challenging task since most typographies made by women are script fonts. So we ended up choosing a font that’s designed by two people, a woman and a man. It seemed like a good compromise since the march is not only for women, but for everyone who believes in human rights.
We also chose Brutal Type because it’s super simple yet distinct.
Do It Yourself
A brand for a grass-root movement is of little value if the people in the movement can’t use it. We wanted to design a meaningful identity, but we also wanted the identity to be user-friendly and sustainable. If hundreds of thousand people come together, there should be a way to unite visually without having to print hundreds of thousands of t-shirts, banners and flags. So we decided to celebrate the true grass-root DIY spirit.
In true MacGyver-style your only limit is your imagination. If you have a potato, dip it in paint, and apply it anything you want.
The DIY approach adds a different but important dimension to the identity. As every print is different the visuals become as diverse as the movement itself.
A social identity
Women’s March on Washington is a social movement. People don’t rally around a site, they rally on social media.
Traditionally, movements or causes have enabled their supporters to add an overlay to their profile picture on Facebook. It’s a social sign of support of a cause. We decided to merge the zeitgeist of supporting a cause via profile overlays with the new Facebook functionality to make your profile come alive. This would enable people to show their support in a new way and spice up their profile picture at the same time.
Below are a few examples of how the visual identity works on the main social channels.
We’re marching on
Yes, this is our second failed attempt to make brand history in Washington. We are certain that the third time will be the charm.
This march is of course much bigger than a brand. It’s about women’s rights and human rights, so join in and support the cause here:
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2169332969958991/