TBWA\Chiat\Day responds to a “dehumanising” bill with 22 posters in support of the trans community
After Bill 1182 was raised in Tennessee that would require ‘warning’ signs placed outside of the state's bathrooms, the agency decided to take action with signs of supportive messaging.
- Ayla Angelos
- 6 August 2021
TBWA\CHIAT\DAY NY is an advertising agency that operates in Los Angeles, New York, Nashville and Mexico City. It was also founded on the belief of allyship and equality, so when a Nashville-based employee raised a “dehumanising, degrading and transphobic Bill 1182” to the agency’s leads in diversity, equity and inclusion, the team decided to respond. The bill requires Tennessee businesses to add “warning” signs to bathrooms, if those bathrooms are multi-stalled and allow transgender people to use them. As this bill would impact nearly every public space in Tennessee, the agency took action and created 22 signs voicing supportive messages to the transgender community.
“TBWA\Chiat\Day saw an opportunity to use creativity as a force for good, helping raise awareness and encourage action,” states the agency in a press release. “The law is clear about the specifics and locations of the signs, however does not include guidance for what surrounds them.” The posters produced by the agency were therefore aligned around the “warning” sign and feature a variety of positive, supportive messages placed around the copy. The signs were going to be placed around the agency’s Nashville office, and were going to be made available to any business in the Tennessee area for free. However – and thankfully – Judge Aleta A. Trauger of the US The District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee granted a preliminary injunction against the law while the litigation takes place. “But the story isn’t over – this is only the beginning of a long road to equality,” continues to agency in the announcement. “Our signs don’t have any practical use right now, and we hope they never will. But it will require continued community support.”
When it came to designing the posters, there were a few constraints to consider. The law made it clear that the warning sign should be designed in a specific way, “so we leaned on classic signage typography to adhere to the sans serif, bold lettering that was mandated,” Ashley Veltre, associate creative director at the agency, tells It's Nice That. “From there, we created a language around it – we didn’t want to pass with the ‘notice’, but rather overpower it.”
Pinks, blues and whites were chosen as the core colour palette, while the sign was resultantly used to “represent and celebrate the trans community” – the antithesis of what the original signs were made to do. The team decided to keep the colours and typography styles limited, which was a conscious move taken in order to “create unity” throughout the different messages. Additionally, the design team referenced the Tennessee state flag through its colour choices, and softened the shades of blues and reds to better represent the transgender flag. “Each sign has its own concept,” continues Ashley, “whether it’s a message of love, providing the actual numbers of state lawmakers, or just giving the middle finger to combat the notice, and the law itself.”
GalleryTBWA\CHIAT\DAY NY: Bill 1182 (Copyright © TBWA\CHIAT\DAY NY, 2021)
TBWA\CHIAT\DAY NY: Bill 1182 (Copyright © TBWA\CHIAT\DAY NY, 2021)
Credits: TBWA\Chiat\Day New York
Chris Beresford-Hill, CCO
Ashley Veltre, Associate Creative Director
Holden Rasche, Associate Creative Director
Robyn Makinson, Head of Design
Carlin Dixon, Strategist
Richard Ash, Account Director
Asheden Hill, Associate Director of Communications
Sophia Barnett, Head of Agency Operations
James Sowden, CSO
About the Author
Ayla is currently covering Jenny as It’s Nice That’s online editor. She has spent nearly a decade as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.