Templo shapes Arabic letterforms into optimistic logo for Free Syria’s Disappeared

The identity seeks accountability for human rights violations in Syria, while emphasising the human stories of detainees.

3 October 2023

London studio Templo’s latest work is for a coalition of activists and charities working to free detainees and forcibly disappeared people in Syria. A bilingual identity and website has been built for the campaign, which is called Free Syria’s Disappeared. Within the work, Templo endeavours to hold space for the human stories at the centre of the organisation, preserve the names and faces of the disappeared, and place Syrian voices first.

The logo is the first example we see of the typographic hierarchy behind the work, where the Arabic face leads followed by English. Templo has turned the Arabic characters for the word ‘Syria’ into a “symbol of freedom”; one character creates the impression of a beak, then a wing and finally tail feathers. “We also played with left and right alignments of the two languages to sit together to give balance,” the studio tells us.

The intended audience for this project is broad. It includes the Syrian public, survivors of detention and their families, as well as policymakers, lawyers, the UN and governments. Speaking to this range of uses, Templo’s bird symbol was handcrafted before being pushed into digital, so as not to remove the crucial human aspect of the organisation. It is balanced by a sans serif which provides rigidity.

Templo was brought on board by the Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA), which also connected the multitude of individual charities at work in Free Syria’s Disappeared, such as Families for Freedom, a collective of families calling for justice for the detained, and Action for Sama – a campaign to end the targeting of healthcare facilities in Syria. Alongside collaborations with these groups, Templo drew on personal cultural Syrian heritage from members of its own team.

This work adds to Templo’s portfolio in the human rights and advocacy space. Its first ever client was The International Truth and Justice project (ITJP) highlighting human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.

GalleryTemplo: Free Syria’s Disappeared (Copyright © Templo, 2023)

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Templo: Free Syria’s Disappeared (Copyright © Templo, 2023)

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Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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