Campaigners have issued three core demands to the government: to “tell the truth about climate change”; to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025; and to create a citizens’ assembly to oversee progress.
With such a clear and strongly communicated set of demands it is no surprise that XR’s other communications have also been equally well thought through. People were already activated but not organised and the XR movement has acted as a powerful force for bringing people together under a shared identity – something bigger than themselves that they can be part of.
A quick reminder before we go too far, your logo and identity toolkit are not your brand. Your brand is the feeling people have when they think of you and the work your organisation does. XR’s brand is what people say it is, not what XR say it is.
You can influence these feelings by communicating in a manner that re-iterates your organisation’s values and qualities. The simpler these are, the easier they are to communicate.
Values, strategy and structure
XR do a fantastic job and clearly establishing the rules of engagement for their movement. This is vitally important when this is be be adopted by a wide, dispersed network, ‘chinese whispers’ and also smearing by negative press can be inevitable so to add strength to the movement and to minimise risk, keeping things simple helps. Their values are easy to understand, and the methods they recommend are communicated at every opportunity. The language they use is inviting, not dictating; open not closed. This is clearly an invitation to join.
In this film XR do a great job of sharing with great clarity how the movement is organised and how this is strategically put into action. Thanks to our friend Al Kennedy for the link:
A well-developed brand proposition can also engender feelings of affinity, belonging, and trust. This is important if you aspire for an existing network to evolve into a real movement. You are inviting people to activate and demand change whilst holding a banner with your logo on it. Do not underestimate the level of trust that is required for this to happen.
The brand toolkit
A huge amount of planning has gone into the Extinction Rebellion visual execution. They have an in-house art group, made up of graphic, fashion and stage designers and artists, who have created branded protest materials. Born from a strong visual foundation, they have expertly created a wider toolkit that is both recognisable yet adaptable.
The Extinction Rebellion logo was designed by a street artist who wishes to remain anonymous. The logo features a stylised sand-timer set inside a circle, representing the planet and is a clear symbol that time is running out. This references the warning from the United Nations that we have just 12 years to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or risk catastrophic changes to the planet’s climate.
This sand-timer logo combined with the language used throughout the campaign clearly highlights the scale and urgency of the climate crisis.
The simplicity of the logo has meant that it has been recreated on streets all over the globe in protest art and is instantly recognisable. It has been available for people to add to their facebook profile images, spreading the message further.
By contrasting the bold black logo and typeface with colourful graphics this works to give the movement an energetic and dynamic look and feel, emphasising the organisation’s passion and anger at the government’s in-action on climate change.
The background of posters and leaflets are made up of a illustrations of skeletons and skulls – a reminder of the threat of mass extinction of species, as well as more positive images of the natural world such as animals, insects and trees, all using their vibrant colour palette, giving a positive edge.
Speaking to Design Week, the campaign group’s graphic designer, Clive Russell explained,