Founded in 1961, Amnesty International played for 40 years a unique role in championing human rights. Focusing on political rights, it found most of its support in the west, and operated in separate country units.
From 2000 onwards, Amnesty started to adapt to a globalised world. It broadened its agenda to include economic, social and cultural rights. It sought more supporters in the developing world. And in a world where human rights abuses cross borders, and where the media is international, it knew it needed a single global voice. To help achieve all this, Amnesty asked Wolff Olins to create a global identity.
We worked in a highly collaborative style, involving Amnesty people from around the world, bringing many of them together at a week-long creative conference in London. Everyone agreed that Amnesty needed to be less legalistic and more activist. Alongside its rigorous research work, it would increasingly intervene in the world: a combination of fact and act. We identified its character as a mix of outrage (about human rights abuses) and hope (for a better world). We kept Amnesty’s famous candle symbol, building it into a visual style that dramatises the idea of intervention, and uses yellow as the colour of hope.
Since its launch in 2008, almost all of Amnesty’s country units have adopted the global identity. One country, Germany, has been particularly successful, winning a D&AD award in 2009 for its work. The next step is for Amnesty in the US, the UK and the Netherlands to switch to the new brand. Meanwhile, Amnesty has successfully broadened its scope, mounting a huge global campaign to stop violence against women, and has attracted 2.2 million supporters in 150 countries. The global brand is already helping Amnesty achieve a global impact.