United Nations

Art Direction, Brand, Digital, Exhibitions, Graphic Design, Identity, Interactive

Back in August 2015, Ian James (our Managing Director) took a call from an old colleague he had worked with at Action Aid and the BBC. Andrew had recently moved to Geneva for a new role with the United Nations at the Palais des Nations and need to produce an exhibition space for the 70th Anniversary Open Day at the United Nations.

The space needed to explain how the Strategic Heritage Plan (SHP) would help to preserve the building while creating a safer, more modern location, accessible to people with disabilities.

Andrew asked if he would be interested in pitching for the design work and to consult on the project. It didn’t take long to for him to say yes and after a rigorous process, he won the pitch.

A few weeks later he flew out to Geneva to take the brief and get first-hand knowledge of the SHP’s proposal, the objectives they had to achieve and what the plan meant to the staff, delegates and the visitors to the Palais.

The space was chosen, measured and sketched while research was carried out to define the foot flow of the corridors and to locate the sites of the other exhibitors. With 91m2 to play with, this square space would have to entice people to walk down a 50m corridor to find out about the SHP. Once there, the important SHP story had to be told in a way that engaged with an audience of global nationalities displaying the logo in both English and French.

In one meeting, their existing logo was also brought into the conversation, with the key stakeholders having mixed feeling to its value in the current form. This provided the opportunity to pitch for the rebrand which would enable the exhibition space to evolve with it.

Back in the UK, the research continued, delving back to 1929 when the first stone was laid to build the Palais, discovering the historical meetings and the treaties signed in their conference rooms and what each of the objectives really meant.

The research identified key elements and values that would need to be incorporated into the brand and logo. This also built a compelling story to create a timeline for the Palais and the SHP that could be represented graphically within the exhibition. Displaying key messages with strong visual reaffirming images.

Time was short and within 4 weeks Ian was back over in Geneva presenting the designs for the new logo and exhibition space to the Director of the project and other key stakeholders.

The presentation started off well, demonstrating the research carried out, the values associated with the SHP brand and why the original logo didn’t support these statements.

Then came the proposed replacements, describing the merits for each individual design and why they had been chosen. A supporting strapline had also been created to reaffirm the brand values in the written word, heightening the importance of the plan.

Each logo was created in English and French versions, positioned across collateral and signage to demonstrate how each would look in-situ with supporting imagery and copy.

Large monitors would display videos about the SHP and the staff in the Palais, with supporting collateral.

Final designs were agreed and the 18-metre panel was sent to the printers for an extremely quick turnaround, and 6 days later they were on their way to Geneva.

With a day to spare, the panels were erected, monitors mounted and here is a picture of Ban Ki Moon commenting on the exhibition.

And yes there is a caption competition so email your suggestions here.

The 70th Anniversary Open Day was a great success and the SHP received numerous comments about their exhibition from staff, delegates and visitors. The contract has now been extended further and Ian has become an integral part of the SHP providing support and guidance across their communication strategy and branding.

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