&Walsh’s branding for Ted Countdown reminds us how little time we have to stop climate change

Focusing on the ten years we have left to avoid irreversible damage, &Walsh has created a suitably urgent visual identity for Ted's recent climate change initiative.

10 June 2021

“People are used to drowning out climate change warnings,” says &Walsh founder Jessica Walsh. “Every day we are inundated with news from scientists, yet most of us don’t take action.” This was the driving force behind the creative agency’s branding for Countdown, an initiative and a series of events by Ted, the media organisation famous for its global programme of inspiring talks. Countdown, which launched towards the end of last year, aims to “champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis, turning ideas into action.” This year’s Countdown Summit, which will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, will bring together 1,000 leaders to “share a blueprint for a beautiful net-zero future” and inspire the world to “turn the tide on climate in ten years.”

With only a decade left to drastically cut global emissions and completely reimagine our society and economy, &Walsh’s branding for an important initiative such as Countdown is suitably bold. Using yellow as the primary colour, the team behind the project wanted to quickly and efficiently communicate the urgency of the situation. “Yellow is a colour used for signage that marks physical hazards, so it was fitting to use this colour to capture the sense of emergency we are in with the climate crisis,” Jessica tells us. “However at the same time, yellow is also known for being an uplifting and positive color, and this duality works well for our branding/advertising.” After capturing people’s attention, &Walsh realised the need for encouragement and played on yellow’s ability to instill hope. The colour scheme places the issue at the forefront, and then serves as a visual aid to the solutions. This is accompanied by a suitably eye-catching typeface, Grotesk Bold 13 Regular, which is strong and striking without distracting from the messaging.

The messaging itself is blunt, to-the-point, and occasionally sarcastic. Provocative statements such as ‘Mass destruction. No biggie.’ and ‘Cause of Death: Apathy’ feature on large yellow and black billboards that are hard to ignore. Other prominent aspects of the branding include a flip clock style animation for the logo, evoking a sense of lost time. It is a reminder that, with every minute that passes, we are a step closer to irreversible consequences. It speaks to just “how little time we have left to change climate change and prevent mass extinction,” explains Jessica.

Gallery&Walsh: Ted Countdown branding (Copyright © Ted, 2021)

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&Walsh: Ted Countdown branding (Copyright © Ted, 2021)

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About the Author

Daniel Milroy Maher

Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.

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