Month: March 2014

Kinnier and Calvert

Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert are responsible for some of the most important typeface and design decisions to date. While their work may not be widely recognised by us all, if you’re a motorist in the UK or various parts of Europe you’ll be exposed to their work on a daily basis. Kinneir and Calvert are responsible for the typeface Transport, created specifically for motorway signs, hence the name. When cars really started to take off in the fifties, the government were concerned about the number of vehicles on the roads and so decided to create the motorway. The decision was made that Britain’s existing road signs were not adequate for the new high speed highways and so Kinneir and Calvert were assigned the job of creating motorway road signs. The first stage of what was to become the M1 was under construction between London and Yorkshire and a lot of new information needed to be displayed. The whole job of creating a clear and consistent system of road signs that would work for a country that were still getting used to cars and these new speeds, fell onto a man and his former student from Chelsea School of Art.

Kinneir and Calvert completely changed road signs by using a combination of upper and lowercase lettering. Before Jock and Margaret’s decision, all road signs were in block capitals, this was already widely accepted for road signs and so their decision horrified the Department of Transport. The typeface Kinneir and Calvert developed were specifically designed to enable motorists to be able read places names quickly and with as much ease as possible. The duo discovered that word recognition is easiest and fastest when upper and lower case letters are combined, so they flow much like when reading a book. Kinneir and Calvert were also responsible for decisions on colour and the thickness of the typeface to enhance legibility. The agreement that all information displayed by motorway signs had to be legible from 600 feet away meant that Kinneir and Calvert tested all these important factors that went into their typeface and roadway signs. The typeface, Transport, has curved letters to create an easy to read and understand at high speeds font. While the decision to use a combination of lower case and upper case shocked the nation because of this drastic change to roadway signs, the decision was actually an incredibly important one. The main purpose of road signs is to communicate information with drivers who are travelling at high speeds and need to have access to this information as easily as possible. While uppercase lettering tends to communicate IMPORTANCE and DANGER, lowercase lettering is a far more approachable way of communicating information with the viewer as it flows in a more natural way allowing the viewer to recognise the word without reading each letter, unlike BOLD UPPERCASE LETERING.

Another part of the job was creating various symbols that could be easily understood and recognised as warnings for ‘men at work’ or ‘children crossing’ or even the possibility of ‘cows becoming part of the proceedings at any time’. One particular image of two children holding hands crossing the road was based upon an image of Calvert herself. According to Calvert this particular image was a difficult one to create as it had to show an action of two children crossing a road while also aiding as a warning for motorists to be more careful. Calvert also says that this particular sign had to be ‘’caring’’ the road sign before Kinneir and Calvert started their work, presented two children crossing the road separately, this simple decision to make the two children hold hands while crossing the road creates a more caring image of the two children, influencing motorists feelings towards the children. If the road sign presents a feeling of care then the drivers know to be conscious of the danger they could put children in by speeding or driving recklessly. While this change is such a simple detail to the image it does actually change a lot, the image is successful in presenting a caring image of two children together encouraging drivers to be mindful of pedestrians around them especially when approaching school grounds or areas where children are likely to be crossing.


Information from – ‘JUST MY TYPE’ by Simon Garfield. Published in 2010 by Profile Books.




M.K. Gandhi Institute

The season for Nonviolence campaign caught my eye on Pinterest; originally I thought the ad was for animal abuse because of the blank poster with words written in what appears to resemble blood. When I looked at the poster, the words read ‘stop cruelty to humans’ clearly not an animal abuse ad.

M.K. Gandhi Institute, (New York) created the campaign for the 64-day campaign designed to spread a message of peace during the 50th and 30th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Ghandi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  To start the project the creative team researched what people were passionate about and found that a lot people are more passionate about animal rights than most other causes. Based on the research the team decided to use animal activism language to get their message across to the viewers. The aim of the ads being in the style of animal rights posters was to remind people about social injustices committed against humans, that they need help too.

The campaign included TV, radio, print and T Shirts. All mediums involved slogans such as ‘save the humans’ and ‘end abuse to humans, closely mimicking animal rights activism slogans, ‘end abuse to animals’. The close resemblance reinforces the fact that there is a lot of focus on animal rights, and while this is an important cause, there needs to be more emphasis on human rights, and the cruelty and abuse many humans are faced with, but their stories never told.

The strongest part of the campaign is the poster with the words ‘stop cruelty to humans’, written in what appears to resemble blood. The use of this makes the viewer realise the seriousness of the issue, people are getting seriously hurt or losing their lives in areas of the world where human rights is not as strict and people don’t have the protection they need. It enforces to the viewer that while animals need our help, people do too, they need protecting and to do so, more people need to be aware of the issue, as aware people are of animal abuse.

The campaign definitely works, as someone passionate about animal rights, when I first glanced at the ad on Pinterest I originally thought it was a campaign concerning animal abuse, while I am already aware of the seriousness of the issue of human rights it made me think about the emphasis on animal cruelty compared to cruelty to humans. The campaign successfully emphasises the importance of helping this cause and raising awareness about human rights so society are more aware of the abuse people are faced with and their stores not told.


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Ferdi Rizkiyanto

Global warming is a heavily talked and debated subject. Everyone wants to come across as doing their bit; no one wants to seem like their using too much electricity or polluting the earth. Campaigns and advertisements for the issue are everywhere; they’re overdone and often include various animals in dying habitats.

Freelance art director and digital artist, Ferdi Rizkiyanto created a global warming awareness ad featuring a penguin pulling the plug on a lamp. Overdone? Yes. Effective? Yes. While the concept of the ad is used again and again, a helpless animal trying to warn humans of the effect we’re having on the planet that we share with these helpless animals is overdone, it still works.   The ad doesn’t stand out as a fantastic advertisement because the idea isn’t new, while its effective and gets the point across to the viewer which is the main aim it does not have anything about it that is cleaver or a new idea to make it stand out and really wow the viewers, it’s just effective. For an advertisement this is the main priority, it’s not meant to be a piece of art, while some are, this one is simply an advertisement that works.

While I don’t feel amazed by this ad, Rizkiyanto created I will admit it is effective and meets all the main criteria of a successful advertisement for global warming awareness.


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Y&R Dubai

It was only on the second glance that I realised the clever thinking behind these advertisement posters against violence and abuse. Scrolling through Pinterest I noticed these ads created by Y&R Dubai for KAFA, an organization aiming to put a stop to gender based violence and abuse in the Middle East. The realisation at what they had done made me actually vocalise my amazement at how clever these advertisement really are. The ads present the viewer with the image of a woman who appears to have been attacked in some way, leaving each woman with a form of wound on their face. The wounds are in fact the sound waves of verbal abuse words such as ‘whore’ or ‘slut’ showing the viewer that abuse is not only physical but also verbal.

Verbal abuse can be just as damaging to a person’s health as physical abuse can be and this ad puts emphasis on this fact. While this is often not realised or taken seriously when a victim makes complaints or speaks up about verbal abuse, Y&R Dubai make the viewer realise that it can be just as damaging to their health and while they may not appear to be hurt the same way a victim of physical abuse is, they can feel just as hurt and scared by this form of abuse. The posters are very simple; each one appears to have the same minimalist appearance, with a different model. This puts all the focus on the wounds rather making the viewer notice this first. It is only when the viewer looks again at this campaign that they realise the wounds are in fact sound waves for various verbal abuse.

The simple appearance of the posters and the clever aspect of the verbal abuse wounds not being obvious upon the first look means that these ads really make the viewer think about this issue, it’s something not many people consider to be a serious form of abuse because there are no physical wounds from verbal abuse however it can have the same effect on victims causing them to feel trapped in a violent relationship. These ads make the viewer consider the seriousness of the issue that they would not necessarily have considered beforehand.

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APAV – Victim support

This victim support advertisement created for the Portuguese Association for Victim Support shows images of women, men and children of all ages being silenced. The images portray a victim with a blank expression, some have a black eye or a wound across their face, others don’t, showing not all victims of abuse have visible wounds to see, it can be hidden. In all the images the victims are being silenced by a hand gesture across their mouth, when the viewer looks at these posters they can see that the hand does not belong to the victim, whether it is a woman with a man’s hand silencing her or a child with an older persons hand silencing them the viewer can see that they are not silencing themselves, there is someone probably the attacker silencing them so they cannot speak up about the abuse they are suffering from.

At the bottom of the poster the viewer can see the words ‘silence hurts’ showing that people need to speak up about this issue as the victims need support and are not getting any. The campaign aims to show the viewers that there are victims of abuse everywhere, some do not show any wounds or bruises, and they are kept hidden and fear to speak out about this abuse. While the image of the poster is clear to me, I have viewed posters like this for abuse victims over and over again; the photo-shopped bruises and cuts across models faces don’t have a strong effect on all viewers. It’s the kind of poster you can walk past without a second glance, the dull colours and bleak facial expressions of the models creates a poster that does not stand out it blends in, while it could be argued that this is raising awareness of how abuse victims are hidden and often don’t speak out about the abuse, for me it shows that the posters are not standing out in public, they are over done style posters that do not grab the viewers’ attention as well as some posters for abuse victims out there do.

The strapline and helpline number for the campaign are so small you can barely see them at the bottom of the poster, while sometimes this works I don’t feel these images are bold enough to be the main focus of the poster with very little explanation of what cause they are advertising.

While some campaigns similar to this have created a successful bold impact on myself and hopefully other viewers, I feel this one does not, the mixture of dark dull colours and an image that is not entirely clear to some viewers, with the added tiny print at the bottom of the image creates an unclear advertisement that blends in too well with other surrounding campaigns unable to create a bold hard hitting effect on the viewer that a campaign like this should be creating.

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Amnesty International

“It’s not happening here, but it’s happening now” This Amnesty International Switzerland poster campaign puts the issue of human rights and abuse literally right in front of the viewer’s eyes. This award winning campaign, created by advertising agency, Walker, based in Zurich, consisted of 200 individual posters with a scene of human rights abuse from around the world with the background matching the surroundings exactly. Advertising campaigns for ‘’touchy’’ subjects are never easy, Puis Walker wanted to create a campaign that didn’t create ‘’drama’’ on a serious issue of human rights.  “Advertising for touchy subjects doesn’t profit from exaggeration. What was needed here was the simplest truth being told in the simplest way. Something no one can argue with is harder to ignore” -Puis Walker (

What this campaign does brilliantly is exactly what Walker set out to do, create something you can’t ignore, that human rights abuse is going on around the world, the campaign’s strapline “It’s not happening here, but it’s happening now” shows the viewer that while we might not be directly affected by this issue and we might not be witness’ to this issue, other people are and it’s happening now. The backgrounds of the posters mimic the viewer’s surroundings, again putting emphasis on the fact that this issue is currently going on while we go about our everyday lives, waiting for our bus or walking down the street. Scenes of issues as serious as human rights abuse juxtaposed with local surroundings, surroundings that the viewers of these campaigns are not aware of and not exposed to do not have the same affect, we see them on the news, they’re terrible of course but we are not exposed to that environment, it does not directly affect us and so terribly it does not seem as big of an issue, by creating a scene going on in the viewer’s familiar surroundings, it makes them realise that this is not okay, if they were to witness these acts of violence they would be horrified, making them realise it is no different if it is going on in their own town or another country.

The images used for the campaign were taken by reporters who had actually witnessed the scenes, because of the images realistic horror, they caused some controversy, would parents be offended when seeing these images as they take their children to school? Of course some might be. However this is the effect of the campaign that is so strong. They’re real and it’s a real issue going on, why would be cower away from this issue? Surely the hard hitting images of abuse need to be released to make people aware of the issue and more likely to stand up against it.

These 200, bold, effective posters were created by only two graphic designers in the space of three weeks. The main issue they faced was “a technical issue when photographing the background settings, Walker recalls. ‘As the poster frames themselves could not be dismantled for the shot, we had to find a way to photograph the background from the visual point of the viewer, without having the actual poster frame covering it. It took a couple of days to figure out.’”  Clearly they overcame any issues faced, as the final posters appear to be very realistic, at a glance it is hard to tell if the background is a photograph of if it is clear and only the foreground image is actually there.

The campaign, only released in Switzerland, created a global impact, talked about on over 400 blogs and creating media coverage in countries as far as Brazil, India and New Zealand, the campaign did exactly what they set out to do, raise awareness of this issue, not glaze over it or dramatize it, just simply give the viewers the facts and information in as simple a way as possible, causing global discussions about the campaign and awareness of the serious issue.

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The Body Shop

Rada Petrovic, a copywriter from London played a key part as head of copywriting in The Body Shop 2012 relaunch, creating the strapline ‘Beauty with heart’. The relaunch aimed to capture ‘‘the brand platform of beauty with ethics’’  ( The Body Shop being globally famous for their ethical views and high standard beauty products, so obviously a relaunch campaign had to capture these two aspects equally. Two ethical issues were tackled with this relaunch, The Body Shop’s well known stance on animal testing and their Fairtrade products.

The strapline ‘Beauty with heart’ captures this ethical, caring aspect of The Body Shop in a clear, bold way with just a few words. The word beauty is clearly important as while The Body Shop wants to advertise their ethical stance on global issues they also want to make it clear that their products are beauty products and of a high standard, they want to sell their products. The image of model Lily Cole paired with the word ‘beauty’ is an obvious way of advertising their products. The viewer feels encouraged to buy from The Body Shop because of their face and body products being advertised by a beautiful woman. This tactic is well known and used by nearly every single beauty company around the world and yet it works. The image of a beautiful woman advertising beauty products just encourages us to buy from that particular company because of the idea that we might look like them if we use that particular shampoo or perfume, ridiculous yet effective.  The use of the word ‘heart’ just adds to how effective and appealing this campaign already is. Who doesn’t want to come across as eco-friendly, ethical and caring? People like the idea of a more caring ethical world and if buying from a particular company means that you’re ‘doing your bit’ then we’re all drawn in.

The minimalist appearance of this campaign adds to the idea of ethical products. There are no added nasty chemicals in The Body Shop’s products, the use of browns, greens, whites and pale blues creates an image of peace and nature in the viewer’s mind, putting emphasis on their Fairtrade, eco-friendly views.  The world that Lily Cole appears to be holding in the lead campaign image, made up of grass and flowers and nothing more again emphasises The Body Shop’s global ethical awareness. They care. That’s the main thing The Body Shop communicates through this campaign, they show they care about people, animals and the world itself. What could possibly be more appealing than an attractive woman advertising high quality beauty products that are ethical and eco-friendly? The Body Shop’s relaunch puts emphasis on all their strengths that put them ahead of other brands the viewer will see on the high street.

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Project charity WATERisLIFE, focus on raising awareness about the lack of clean, disease free water in the developing world. The charity aims to bring filters to children all over the world so they can drink safe clean water for one year, “The WATERisLIFE straw is a small, portable filtration device that provides pure, clean drinking water whenever it is immersed into a water source (just like a normal straw). This straw however saves lives on a daily basis by filtering out waterborne diseases – which accounts for over 6,500 deaths every day – 5,000 of those being children.” ( The charity has used various campaigns to raise awareness of the issue and their work in third world countries.

One particular video campaign I found powerful is #BucketList. The video focuses on the life of one four year old boy, Nkaitole, from Kenya. Early on in the video the viewers are given the information that Nkaitole has a 1 in 5 chance of dying before he reaches the age of five. From the beginning of the video campaign I could already feel it having a very strong emotional effect on me, showing the powerful affect this video has on the viewers.

While I personally find that emotive campaigns usually are not effective, this one certainly is. The use of the boy’s narration, clips of him happy and smiling shows the viewer the work this charity has done and can do for Nkaitole and children like him all over the world. The clips of a happy smiling young boy enjoying things in life we take for granted makes the viewer emotional in the right way, they feel encouraged to help in whatever way they can do by either donating money, volunteering themselves or just simply sharing the video with family and friends of on a social media site to spread the word and get others involved with this worthwhile cause. The bucket list of the young child makes the viewer put things in perspective, things such as going on a plane, playing soccer and riding in a hot air balloon should not be ticked off by the age of four years old because you might die before you reach the age of five. It makes the viewer emotional, for seeing this child so happy and smiling but also for the knowledge that he might not get to five years old because of unsafe drinking water. One thing that really hit me was the music used when Nkaitole says he’s never seen the ocean before, the clip of the young child standing in front of the ocean as the music slows right down has a really emotional effect on the viewers, I myself saw the ocean as a baby, I’ve seen it countless times and never thought anything off it, it makes the viewer realise what a huge deal this is for the little boy and how happy he is to have seen the ocean, this is followed by a clip of him happily running alongside the ocean as the music picks up again. The use of music in this ad influences emotions in the viewer, causing them to engage more with the life of this child and realise how privileged we all are.

The video uses the emotions of the viewers as a strength, they do not show clips of children in pain or sorrow, they instead show clips of one child enjoying various things that we all take for granted putting the focus on the importance of the happiness of this child and billions of other children rather than what they have to face on a daily basis, this instead of making the viewer feel helpless, fills them with hope that maybe if they help this cause in any way they can, other children like Nkaitole will be able to experience things that make them happy, and maybe they’ll live beyond five years old if we’re able to help this cause raise money for safer drinking water in the developing world. The video ends with the statement “Unsafe drinking water is one of the leading causes of death in children under 5”. The emotive clips followed by this statement has a powerful impact on the viewers, they are left thinking about this child and how billions of other children are living without the basic human right of access to clean, safe drinking water.

Because of their use of emotive aspects of the video, showing the happiness of Nkaitole and being told the hard facts about waterbourne disease deaths, I feel this particular campaign is more effective than other campaigns that focus on the sorrow and pain these people face. It gives the viewer hope that they can make a difference, that people do care and there are people out there already making a difference and that we can help in whatever way we chose no matter how big or small, while also providing the viewer with the shocking facts that make them think about how we take water for granted, and how privileged we are to live with the basic human right of clean safe water.

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