Founded back in 1868, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is, like the name suggests, dedicated to supporting people in the UK with sight loss. To celebrate its 150th anniversary, the institute has asked creative agency The&Partnership London to give it a total visual overhaul.
“They admitted that the work they’d done in the past had been a little self-centred, a little inward-looking, and they wanted to reach a wider audience beyond members of the RNIB Yan Elliott, executive creative director at The&Partnership tells us, adding, “They wanted to break down barriers between the sight loss community and the ‘real world’. That meant together we could touch the lives of many many people, and help integrate them into society.”
Yan’s colleague Marc Donaldson, the agency’s head of art, notes that, “There are two million people registered blind with the RNIB, and it’s about connecting with them. We wanted a campaign that resonated with those people.” For Yan, Marc, and the rest of the team who worked on the project, a sense visual inclusivity was central to the project’s success.
This has been achieved by conducting extensive research workshops, where feedback was solicited from blind and partially sighted people. Getting the RNIB logo was of utmost importance. “It has to be visible and functional,” Marc says, “We analysed old logos, and saw they weren’t inclusive. We looked at existing logos in the charity sector, and the NHS logo, which was a perfect example of functional, readable design. Colour psychology was important too. Then we’d talk about design and typography and art design from a purely functional perspective, things like Margaret Calvert’s 60s road signs. They got excited about it. I thought we’d bore the pants off them but they loved it!”
The rebrand features new envelopes, wall signs, and a series of posters which uses humour to great effect. “Jokes make you feel relaxed, and they make things easier to talk about,” says Yan. “Joking about an issue makes it less of an issue. One of the things we were asked to do was to see the person, not the sight loss. This campaign manages to show that if you have sight loss, it is not the end of the world — which shows you the role the RNIB play. They are they to help. They do what friends do. And we want to make them more of a friend than an institution. Institutions don’t have a sense of humour; friends do.”
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