Simplicity as a framework for flexibility: TRiC rebrands Australia’s Human Rights Law Centre

In the newly formed studio’s first client outside of the cultural sector, Tristan and Rick showcase thoughtful design tendencies no matter what the brief.

1 June 2021


Defining the visual and communicative tone of an organisation is often the hardest task for creative studios. Whether it’s a cultural destination, a restaurant, or another artist, finding the gem in a client’s output, and building an identity encompassing that, is a journey of communicative balance. The weight of this task is understandably heightened when the client itself holds huge importance, such is the case with TRiC’s new brand identity for the Human Rights Law Centre in Australia.

TRiC is a relatively new studio, though it features some familiar faces. Made up of Tristan Ceddia (previously known as studio Never Now) and Rick Milovanovic, the pair have collaborated on various projects over the past decide and decided to join forces in 2020. Largely working across cultural clients – like Brunswick Music Festival, restaurant Lagoon Dining and Pan After, a homeware store – the studio’s work for Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) may come as a surprise. Yet, it was the fact that Tristan and Rick had never worked with a client in this sector which led HRLC to get in touch.

Across its work, the HRLC uses legal action, policy solutions and advocacy to support people and communities. At the core of this is a history of fearlessly protecting and promoting human rights across Australia, delivering “justice and systematic change for women, Indigenous peoples, asylum seekers, refugees and the LGBTIQ community,” explains Rick from TRiC. Yet from a visual aspect HRLC were keen to separate itself from those in the sector, usually recognised by a certain style of “NGO branding”. As Tristan then describes: “They were drawn to the broadness of our work across different communities and community organisations, such as galleries, radio, festivals etc.” In turn, it was also HRLC’s willingness to break away “and to challenge the status quo of their industry [that] resonated with us,” continues Tristan. “It’s these kinds of client relationships that we dream of building because we believe they cultivate new possibilities for design.”

Beginning by deconstructing HRLC’s current brand, TRiC found that its visual communication “weakened the importance and genuine compassion of the influential work they were doing,” says Tristan. The brief then became a task of spotlighting the HRLC’s supportive work, but also highlighting it as “Australia’s leading independent, not-for-profit voice in the human rights space.” The attitude the studio therefore adopted was simple: “clear communication is key in creating community and making meaningful change.”

Considering the studio’s experience, TRiC opted to stick to its usual area of expertise when developing this attitude into a visual language. “Rather than comparing our clients’ to their competitors or their predictable industry positioning, we look outward to other areas of art, design, history and culture to search for parallel sentiments, tones or motivations,” says the creative director. No matter the client, “This, in a way, is our favourite part of the creative process, making connections between purposeful communication in unexpected areas and at the project at hand.”

Through this process particular, the creative direction became clear. “For example, how wonderful is the reactive nature of a passionate protest placard? Always bold, always underlined, and if there’s a full stop –it’s more than likely snapped a marker in the process.” Developing out creative sentiments such as this, TRiC’s next step was to embrace the organisation name itself, “leaning into the powerful words human, rights and law to straight forwardly communicate ‘This is who we are and this is what we do.’” The rebranded logo mark therefore is “firm, but friendly, confident and refined” managing to communicate all these elements in the act of adding a full stop.

Slight flairs of personality are added in actions such as this, but typographic details remain clear and direct by pairing Suisse Int’l and Suisse Works, both by Ian Party. Colour is only added on more promotional items for HRLC, and “was a point of contention throughout the entire process,” adds Tristan. With precision and meaning leading every creative decision, the addition of colour offered a world of options, leading “to a lot of discussion around the representative power and subjective meaning of colour, especially in politics and activism.” As a result, while the framework of HRLC’s branding is strictly refined, the company’s work meant it “made sense for us to not use colour prescriptively but to instead use it freely and boldly”, creating a palette representing “the full spectrum of human rights in all territories – open to adjustment and updates as the brand develops.”

The result is a brand identity that at first appears simple but is truly nuanced in its creative thought process. Circling back to the subject of balance when creating visual identities ,Tristan adds: “Defining the tone of this brand was challenging, and something we had to balance carefully. There were multiple tones we needed to hit and adapt on a number of levels – genuine and visionary for the general public; optimistic and aspirational for its donors; firm and influential to government,” he says. “In a way, this is probably why the brand identity is simple at its core. It’s the encompassing brand system that allows for flexibility.”

GalleryTRiC: Human Rights Law Centre (Copyright © TRiC, 2021)

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TRiC: Human Rights Law Centre (Copyright © TRiC, 2021)

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About the Author

Lucy Bourton

Lucy (she/her) is the senior editor at Insights, a research-driven department with It's Nice That. Get in contact with her for potential Insights collaborations or to discuss Insights' fortnightly column, POV. Lucy has been a part of the team at It's Nice That since 2016, first joining as a staff writer after graduating from Chelsea College of Art with a degree in Graphic Design Communication.

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