Pentagram rebrands human rights organisation Witness to highlight people power
Pentagram partner Harry Pearce has created a new identity for human-rights charity Witness to show the strength of the global network of people documenting human rights issues.
Formed by musician Peter Gabriel in 1992 following the brutal attack on Rodney King by Los Angeles Police, Witness initially gave out cameras to people in 60 countries in order for them to document and platform human-rights issues where they lived. Today it trains human-rights defenders in how to use video in their work in a safe, effective and ethical way. The charity also conducts research into how new technology can affect human rights, including deepfakes and cyber abuse.
The concept behind the new identity is to highlight Witness’ mission to “make the truth visible” and to update it for a time when everyone has a smartphone in their pocket. The typographic logo is constructed from Akzidenz Grotesk Medium and sits alongside the tagline of “See It, Film It, Change It”. In the redesign, the wordmark and this phrase have been brought closer together, giving the relationship “a more dynamic construct,” Pearce says. He also developed a new “optimistic” colour palette to complement the charity’s recognisable orange.
New campaign visuals feature powerful reportage photography from all over the world including tight crops of eyes, which have been created with a halftone dot effect. “The constant changing eyes are really the central part of the new identity,” Pearce tells It’s Nice That. “It’s where the whole energy of Witness resides, in people, in seeing, and in the courage it takes to film and share the stories, often in the most dangerous of situations.
“The halftone dot is a simple graphic technique that evens out the quality of the worldwide photography, and simultaneously gives a bold graphic energy to the identity,” he continues.
Pearce has worked with Witness since 1993, and sits on the Advisory Board of the organisation in a pro-bono capacity. “We have all been working together for a long time, so it’s very different to working with a new client,” says Pearce. “Witness is an extension of our studio and the design team. It’s very personal and deeply felt.”
The new identity launches today (10 December) to coincide with World Human Rights Day.