We believe that every group, organization, and brand has a right—and an obligation—to express their values. (That’s why we’ve done a lot of work on our own.) Any time we get a chance to help a partner articulate their beliefs, we consider it an honor. The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley recently gave us that opportunity via a fresh brand identity for their new initiative.
We’d previously worked with the team to create motion graphics, so we were happy to collaborate.
A New Social Compact
As its name implies, the Haas Institute’s goal is to bring “together researchers, organizers, stakeholders, communicators, and policymakers to identify and eliminate the barriers to an inclusive, just, and sustainable society and to create transformative change toward a more equitable nation.”
Given the divisive political climate in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential election, the Haas Institute realized that their message of collaboration and inclusiveness was more important than ever. Accordingly, they sought to launch a new movement to make a bold statement about their beliefs.
To do this, they planned to launch A New Social Compact, a statement of values to remind citizens of our fundamental social values and to focus on the positive, community-building beliefs we hold. (The name was inspired by President Obama’s call to action in his farewell address.)
The Compact would also encourage the public and public leaders to sign and commit themselves to the values outlined. The team approached us to help create a vessel to share that message, including a website, brand identity, and other supporting assets.
Building the Brand Identity
With the institute’s mission in mind, we were tasked with building a brand identity to support A New Social Compact, as well as the website where it would live. This included several elements.
We focused on a clean, simple presentation for A new Social Compact. As The Compact is straightforward, we wanted to give readers an easily navigable experience. The site simply guides viewers through the statements, then welcomes them to sign The Compact, where their name will be publicly displayed.
In order to introduce The Compact and help viewers share and engage with it, we created the #CommitTo hashtag.
This welcomes members to share their reasons for joining The Compact. The open-ended phrase “commit to…” both encourages members to take action while leaving the specific action or belief up to them. As this was a nonpartisan project, we wanted each individual to feel compelled to contribute their personal beliefs.
We wanted the logo to be fairly straightforward and impactful.
The block and stacked type lend a sense of weight and importance to the mark. The only graphic element included in the identity is a six-pointed asterisk.
The asterisk is an interpretation of a star, which can signify many things, including a guiding light, rebirth, a new start, a rising sun, a new dawn. In a typographical sense, an asterisk can also denote a change or correction to an existing document, a change to the status quo if you will.
We wanted the logo mark to reflect The Compact’s theme and embody both a sense of optimism and importance.
The color palette also reflects the organization’s inclusive ideas. We avoided the standard red, white, and blue color scheme reflective of America and its political systems. Because The Compact is a non-partisan effort, it was important to communicate that in the identity.
By creating a warm, inviting color palette, we wanted to evoke a sense of optimism and inclusion. The collage of these colors, and the inclusion of a subtle pattern, also reflect our society’s inherent diversity. This was meant to communicate that any social disconnect requires a reimagining, a re-layering, and it is up to us to come together and work toward a shared goal.
To help inspire members to “commit” in their everyday life, we also created publicity assets, including art posters, buttons, and T-shirts, all of which reinforce the messaging.
We hope you will too.
For more branding projects, check out the ocean-inspired visual identity we created for UCI Applied Innovation and the packaging we created for Trezo d’Haiti coffee. Of course, if you need any help with your own branding, we’d love to chat.