Designers update the UN logo to reflect rising sea levels

“The UN logo has remained unchanged for 78 years, but the world hasn’t”, says designers at the communications agency Publicis Norway.

Date
7 December 2023

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A group of designers and creatives have come together to redesign the UN’s logo according to the organisation’s projections for sea level rise. The coastlines of continents have been retracted or reshaped, while some countries, like the Maldives, have been entirely deleted from an illustrated map of the world, which the UN has used as its logo since 1946.

The new logo visualises how the world might look in 2100, based on the UN’s own predictions that temperatures will rise by 2.9 degrees – Scott Kulp, a computational scientist at Climate Central, told Buzzfeed this temperature change could result in an estimated 12 per cent of the global land population being threatened.

Publicis Norway’s logo shows the Maldives removed – as the flattest country in the world, rising sea levels could “effectively eradicate” the country from the map, says a release. The coastline has also been erased in the Bay of Bengal, where about 20 million people will be displaced due to rising sea levels by 2050. The logo also shows massive reduction to The Bahamas and Alexandria and the Nile Delta in Egypt. The Netherlands land mass is halved, with sea levels predicted to rise two metres on the Dutch coastline by 2100.

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Publicis Norway: The Climate Changed (Copyright © Publicis Norway, 2023)

The self-initiated redesign has been carried out by a group of designers at communications agency Publicis Norway. It is launched as COP28 continues in Dubai, where it remains unclear whether a phased out approach to fossil fuels will be agreed on (as The New York Times puts it, an agreement on a phaseout would be “historic”).

“Our initiative is a reminder that these are not distant, hypothetical scenarios,” says Ole Andreas Finseth, senior creative at Publicis Norway. “They are imminent realities and we demand more action from COP28. We hope that the climate changed logo will help spread awareness about the impacts of climate change and inspire others to engage.”

Publicis Norway’s Thale Riiser says: “Although design is our tool of choice, this goes beyond the lines of vector graphics; these reshaped and deleted areas are home to millions and millions of people. Knowing that makes this simple graphic physically hurt.”

Find out more about the project, and sign a petition demanding more action from COP28, here.

GalleryPublicis Norway: The Climate Changed (Copyright © Publicis Norway, 2023)

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Publicis Norway: The Climate Changed (Copyright © Publicis Norway, 2023)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating from the University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, Indie magazine and design studio Evermade.

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