Save the Children

We were appointed in 2006 to help the charity raise their profile in the UK. It wanted to regain its position as a worldwide voice for childrens’ rights as they once were, earlier in the 20th Century.

We entered a long strategic and research stage, where we discovered a far more ‘agit’ stance than we’d expected – an organisation outraged by the plight of children around the world and one prepared to make a far louder statement than anything previously. Once we’d agreed this verbally (encapsulated by the campaign line ‘We Save the Children. Will you?’), our first task was how to translate this into a new visual approach, whilst not straying too far from their global housestyle (centred around their child symbol and the Gill Sans font).

After some experiments with a hand-drawn version of the font, we had a breakthrough thought – let’s ask children to save the children. So we developed a worksheet that we tested, then distributed around local schools which contained light outlines of the typeface and asked children to draw their own version over the top.

Soon we had hundreds of examples, and rather than just choosing one or two, we established that Monotype (the foundry for the original typeface) was prepared to help us digitise many of them, not just a few.

Eventually, we digitised 14 weights, varying from highly expressive fonts such as Harry’s (shown above) or more regular versions like Alex’s, used below. (Each child’s first name was used as the name of each version of the font).

Immediately we started using the fonts across all the charity’s collateral in the UK, from leaflets, reports and posters, to websites and TV advertising.

By being involved from such an early stage in the repositioning of the charity, we also developed tone of voice and messaging projects that helped them more clearly define what they stood for (the ‘THEY/WE/YOU’ structure used in some of these examples).

Our next project for the charity had a more global focus: they wanted to run a world campaign highlighting the issue of child mortality (millions of children every year never reach their fifth birthday). We helped name, then design the ‘EveryOne’ campaign, this time introducing a ‘wood-cut’ version of the brand font.

To reflect the worldwide theme, translated logos were created for use in each region, including Spanish, French and Arabic as shown above, and animated below.

Back in the UK we developed an advertising campaign for the charity based upon a core thought of ‘the child I was’ to highlight the lives that weren’t lived due to terrible health and nutrition.

Save the Children also works domestically in the UK (a fact sometimes overshadowed by its international activity) and for our next campaign we purposely contrasted the worries of mothers both at home and abroad (‘from Sheffield to Sierra Leone’).

Our most recent work for the charity involves more work on typography, some subtle strengthening of the core logos and symbol to help it work in all sizes, and a comprehensive campaign manual for their next major campaign, ‘No Child Born to Die’.

To link across all the elements of the campaign, we’ve developed a new version of the Save the Children mark which has a better balance of symbol to type, and a ‘woodblocked’ version of the logo.

Here are some of the ‘Born to…’ campaign elements in use on examples produced by Save the Children’s in-house design department.

They range from the obligatory T-shirts, to policy brochures and leaflets. Soon the campaign will be rolling out nationwide, and featuring in a TV special.

This is the most recent recent pocket-sized brand guide for staff and volunteers.

And some interior spreads explaining exactly what the charity does, and who it does it for.

In our five or so years working with Save the Children, we’re proud to say that their research ‘numbers’ have only gone up as their prompted and unprompted awareness figures have practically doubled.

We can’t claim this as being entirely due to our design and communication involvement, but we’d like to think it’s helped.