Ask DN: Is it necessary to have a logo + slogan for tragedies ?

over 5 years ago from , Design @Adyax

This is a real question. I'm a Parisian, and designer. Like many people I've been shocked by what I've seen yesterday of course, and thanks god my family and friends are safe.

Following what was happening via twitter/fb. I've seen few logos becoming the new "JE SUIS CHARLIE" : http://referentiel.nouvelobs.com/file/14565582.jpghttps://pbs.twimg.com/media/CTukshqVEAAZdHX.jpg

If I agree that art and creativity are a way to fight and express myself, I always feel weird when I see logos and slogan used like marketing campaign. I mean using the same way to communicate in order to sell a brand or fight terrorism feels weird to me.

What do you think ?


  • Jesse C.Jesse C., over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    One downside I see is that I think it cheapens as well what we could do and quickly moves on from the incident. I also feel like a lot is done simply for personal attention.

    When someone posts a photo of the Eiffel Tower and some comment about supporting Paris, they feel like they've "done something" and when the primary thing they're seeing about the incident is the same photo and slogan, instead of real details, the aftermath, etc. they move on quickly. I'm very sure that some of the people I've seen posting things about this are purely doing it for the attention as well, similar to when someone passes away and suddenly they have a million best friends morning their loss.

    In saying this, some things like a temporary Facebook profile also give people a very quick and easy way to show support as one single massive entity.. but how helpful is this? Is it like wishing your dad happy birthday or happy Father's Day when he isn't even on Facebook?

    Are there examples we can learn from of where some tragedy occurred and those around the world were genuinely able to help in a direct or indirect way? Art/design has been powerful throughout history, and we perhaps need to find the modern way about it.

    13 points
    • Laurens SpangenbergLaurens Spangenberg, over 5 years ago

      In the past, there have been many logos, graphics, signs, slogans, and photographs attached to tragic events. I don't always agree with it, but it's not new.

      I think one thing we can do is design better ways to inform the public on the event in detail beyond the sensationalist news sites/channels to promote knowledge, thoughtfulness and true empathy over biases, political agendas, and shallow acts of instant gratification.

      Perhaps there could be a website that collects people's personal stories on the event. So that when one of us on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean says that we give our sympathy, we don't just say it because we read the Facebook sidebar, reshared an image, and did the "temporary" profile picture change, but because we read someone's experience, and truly meant it.

      4 points
      • Jesse C.Jesse C., over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

        Good points Laurens! This probably is just a modern representation of something humans have always done, relative to whatever art/design/graphics/symbolism/etc was available.

        Okay, I think that personal stories idea is actually brilliant. We have social media where people can share these things though some are closed (Facebook) versus open (Twitter, blogs) but discoverability is quite hard. I also feel like those directly involved in tragic incidents often themselves don't write much because they're still in the middle of it, it's too painful, etc. When mainstream media interviews people who were involved we sometimes see those stories spread. One story currently spreading is the man who sacrificed himself in Beirut (IIRC) to lessen the damage of a suicide bomber.

        There are even things that exist ala Storify that can be used for this purpose.

        1 point
    • Stefano TirloniStefano Tirloni, over 5 years ago

      For me is something like this: http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3payqf

      1 point
    • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

      Do not underestimate the power of awareness and grief-en-masse. Seeing others sympathize can go a long way in aiding the recovery of the people who were directly affected.

      It creates a "market" of sorts, that can prompt powers-that-be to take action. Whether that's a brand willing to increase awareness of themselves by setting up a fund-raiser for the affected, or a psychiatrist that reaches out to offer free consults for those affected through social channels.

      The point there, is that the separate needs/wants (the need for help, the want to contribute) can be connected by a middle man.

      And awareness draws such middle-men in.

      So by all means.

      .edit: I personally don't even care if a brand slaps their brand-name all over an initiative with good results: help is needed. I wouldn't complain if my ambulance was cheaper but had "RED BULL" all over the side. Especially well known brands, to be honest. Their "star-power" might enable them to get more money through to the actual cause.

      1 point
  • Felix MeadowFelix Meadow, over 5 years ago

    The problem is when you select tragedies.

    The implication is that some humans are worth more than others, or some skin colours are worth more than others.

    There are hundreds of other tragedies around the world. Yemen is a tragedy, only made possible by US weapons and support for opressive governments. Palestine is a tragedy, only made possible by US support for oppressive governments. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed unjustly by the US and her allies in Iraq, but Facebook doesn't give me to the option to change my profile to an Iraqi flag.


    9 points
    • Sander VisserSander Visser, over 5 years ago

      I've came to realize this more and more lately. We haven't had such news and media coverage on the Russian airplane, the attack in Beirut, terrorist attacks in Nigeria and on any other terrorist attack outside the EU and US. It's like those people don't really matter to us. I wonder if they actually don't or that it is created by the media.

      3 points
      • Mike Wilson, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

        It's both literal and perceived proximity, plain and simple. Not some big conspiracy by the media to marginalize non-western people.Speaking as an American, I know the US is far closer to France than they are to Lebanon or Nigeria in terms of pop culture, tourism, shared history, way of life, political alignment, economics, and so on.

        French is taught in every American high school in the country. Your average American cannot even imagine themselves being in an open air market in Baga, Nigeria. Name me 5 capital cities in central Africa without Googling. I couldn't either. Does this make us evil, uncaring westerners? Or just normal humans lacking unlimited brain capacity for omnipresent empathy?

        To put it conversely, when racial tensions were heating up in the US recently with Ferguson, the Charleston shooting, the marches all over the country, the black lives matter movement, etc....do you think TV stations in Beirut or Russia were covering these issues 24/7? Do you think a majority of Russians or Syrians were posting all over social media with the #blacklivesmatter hashtag?

        To follow your logical premise, why are you not upset that the struggles of black people in America don't really matter that much to the citizens of Japan?

        1 point
        • Sander VisserSander Visser, over 5 years ago

          You are completely right, actually. Thanks for clearing my mind up.

          I do think there might be a small difference in this specific case, which is that the attack in Paris, the Russian plane and the attack in Beirut were all caused by ISIS. I think that should make us as Europeans (not sure where you're from) more aware of what is happening because of ISIS anywhere in the world instead of just the cities or places we feel more familiar with.

          0 points
          • Mike Wilson, over 5 years ago

            I definitely agree we should be bringing more attention to anywhere ISIS is attacking. It's a problem for sure, I wish people could connect and empathize with a foreign culture/place more easily. Although if that were the case, ISIS probably wouldn't be around in the first place haha. I do think education and travel helps tremendously.

            0 points
      • Corin EdwardsCorin Edwards, over 5 years ago

        Everyone in this thread is a part of 'the media'.

        0 points
  • Sander VisserSander Visser, over 5 years ago

    I don't know if it is necessary to have logos and slogans, but I think they create unity and help people who can't find the words to express them self about the situation. It's a way to show compassion without having to be creative or good in writing.

    7 points
  • Stefano TirloniStefano Tirloni, over 5 years ago

    I have the same feeling as yours Gabriel. My personal "creative" way to deal with this event was to say a prayer for all the people involved without changing my Twitter/FB avatar or shooting something on Dribbble.

    When you're providing a symbol/hero/slogan to people, they're loosing their own personal identity because they're identified to that symbol's group.

    The group is like a real person . The group don't think, just react using the lizard brain The group is more easier to manipulate.

    3 points
    • Corin EdwardsCorin Edwards, over 5 years ago

      The group is also a constituent, and because of that it has the power to exert influence over elected representatives.

      A symbol is a way of reinforcing social norms through peer pressure.

      If people want to get behind a symbol that makes other people feel pressured by society to be more peaceful that's ok with me.

      0 points
      • Stefano TirloniStefano Tirloni, over 5 years ago

        Ok but for me this is a very openable way to show your solidarity. 1. after 3 weeks most of the people will forget about this fact and nothing will change. 2. if you're showing France flag, to be coherent you should display the Pakistan flag when a drone kill randomly 50 innocent people for example... Are France victims more important than other people in the world?

        The best solidarity you could do for those kind of events is to understand the real problem, to study it, to ask why, question everything about it, see the others point of views and not follow designed emotions created by the mass media.

        1 point
        • Corin EdwardsCorin Edwards, over 5 years ago
          1. Nope, disagree with the premise, people will not forget about this in 3 weeks, be realistic.
          2. Absolutely agree. You and I and everyone in this thread is guilty of not using their considerable creative powers to bring more attention and/or thoughtfullness to horrors around the world.

          I hope you post a drone strike awareness project here soon, it is important.

          In your last unnumbered point I again disagree with the premise. When we pretend we aren't a part of the 'mass media' we just shrug off the responsibility of participating in these issues.

          0 points
          • Stefano TirloniStefano Tirloni, over 5 years ago
            1. Yes, my mistake, I mean after posting a news on FB or changing your avatar people feels fulfilled and that's it.

            2-3. As my personal choice I don't follow any television-paper-online news, this is not because I don't care about what's going on outside my home but because I don't want to be surrounded by negative/scary/panic news. And our democracy is driven by fear...

            I'll never post a drone/bomb terrorist project... I just want to talk about POSITIVE things. The best way for our, as a designer, to improve the world is to build something great with love, everyday! Something that solves user problems and make them feel better.

            I think that's it... So thank you Corin for your opinion! Keep going on building something awesome!

            1 point
  • Dave Levine, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    I can't say with certainty the designers intent of this logo is to brand the fight against terrorism. Either way, I'm sure this will resonate with many and will help express grief, empathy, and community.

    2 points
  • ChrisArchitec t, over 5 years ago

    I just wondered who designed the Eiffel Peace logo... Sure enough, here's an interview Wired tracked the guy down: http://www.wired.com/2015/11/jean-jullien-peace-for-paris/

    How some ppl use the logos is definitely suspect but I feel it originates from a good place, artists are humans and play a role in society etc.

    1 point
  • Jaron SaturninoJaron Saturnino, over 5 years ago

    To me, these logos and slogans of tragedies are the most honorable form of marketing. Not only do they simplify in complex and terrifying times, but they provide an accessible outlet for those who want to show that they care. Yeah, it feels cheapening to a some, but priority right now belongs to those who are most affected- I would happily trade 100 cynical reactions to a Facebook campaign for every person who manages to connect with someone in grief right now.

    1 point
  • John PJohn P, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    Just gives the event more meaning and therefore more power IMHO.

    Look where "never forget" got us.

    0 points
    • Sébastien Nikolaou, over 5 years ago

      So there is a need for more meaning? As if the tragedy itself lacks of meaning or power? I actually believe we are over-saturated with meaning, with coverage, with opinions etc.

      IMHO the brandification of a tragedy not only cheapens the actual fact, but it removes some of its meaning. Now it's an image, a picture that goes viral, a logo and a slogan that can be shared so easily, or a semi-transparent flag on top of profile pictures.

      It becomes a simulacrum for grief and compassion, that replaces the need for actual action and engagement. The signifier itself is worthless and cheap, as it can be shared so simply by individuals or media publishers without much thought. On the other hand, the signified has a tremendous value, as the shock, the fear, the grief, the compassion and the need for helping other people can be genuine and powerful.

      But when it comes canned in the form of a logo or a slogan that needs to be consumed by the masses in order to satisfy their need to show that they care, then all the real value is lost.

      1 point